Newscity: Ice Denied Access To Nm Employer Files, Grants Awarded To Nm To Battle Opioid Crisis, Task Force Talks New Teacher Evals

Ice Denied Access To Nm Employer Files

Joshua Lee
3 min read
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New Mexico has denied federal immigration authorities’ requests for access to the entire state’s employment-records database on more than one occasion this month.

According to
KRQE, Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials requested access to a New Mexico unemployment database with records on employers and employees throughout the state twice in the last month. McCamley told reporters that the state will only consider information requests made by federal agencies if they pertain to specific employers and are accompanied by a justification. “What ICE wanted was unlimited direct access to all employer data in the state and we’re not going to do that,” he reportedly said.

ICE was reportedly given access to certain data systems in Texas by the Texas Workforce Commission. That database includes information related to wage records, unemployment benefits and employer information. ICE investigators told Texas authorities that access to the information would expedite requests from case agents.

Newscity: Grants Awarded To Nm To Battle Opioid Crisis

A federal agency has granted $6 million to New Mexico health programs in an effort to battle the state’s opioid problem.

Associated Press reports that New Mexico congressional delegates said that the Health Resources and Services Administration of the federal Department of Health and Human Services have awarded a number of grants to support programs dedicated to opioid abuse treatment, prevention, recovery and research efforts.

According to a statement from the delegation, $2.5 million will go to support 15 health centers across the state, and $2 million will go to Rio Arriba County and El Centro Family Health in Española. New Mexico State University will receive $1.3 million to train students in behavioral health related to substance abuse disorders and $305,000 to train future psychologists who will work with underserved populations.

Newscity: Task Force Talks New Teacher Evals

Last week, a group of New Mexico educators, administrators, parents and union leaders met to discuss plans for a permanent teacher evaluation system.

Earlier this year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state will drop the previous educator evaluation system after teachers’ unions complained that it unfairly penalized educators for low student test scores. In May, it was announced that
student test scores would be removed from the evaluations.

But the state’s Public Education Department has yet to come up with a permanent system to evaluate teacher performance. According to
KRQE, a 46-member task force met in Rio Rancho last week to discuss recommendations for the new system. They hope to roll out the changes within a year.

New Mexico is currently suffering through a teacher shortage. According to New Mexico State University’s
2018 NM Educator Vacancy Report, there were 740 unfilled teaching positions in grade levels K-12 last year and more than 400 vacancies in other educator positions. Education officials say they hope a less punitive evaluation system will attract more educators to the state.
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