New Mexico governor concerned about potential influx of migrants – The Journal

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, left, greets President Joe Biden at Kirtland Air Force Base during a trip to meet with state and local officials about the New Mexico wildfires on June 11 in Albuquerque. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Evan Vucci

ALBUQUERQUE — The Democratic governor of New Mexico is asking the Biden administration to delay planned or expanded efforts to transport migrants to his state if pandemic-related restrictions on asylum seekers are lifted.

The federal government has planned a three-fold increase in border crossings if that happens, and first-term governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Tuesday that an influx of migrants would significantly affect the border state’s ability to provide continued humanitarian aid. to thousands of New Mexico residents displaced by historic wildfires this spring.

She voiced her concerns in a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas.

The governor is among Democrats who would be forced to play defense in an already tough midterm election year if there were an increase in illegal border crossings.

Lujan Grisham told Mayorkas that border issues and flaws in the immigration system must be addressed and that public safety and health are paramount. She went on to say that she does not believe the ministry can adequately address concerns if existing limitations on the entry of migrants are lifted.

“New Mexico (and other border states) will bear the brunt of the negative economic and social impacts that may arise from the influx of migrants without additional planning by the federal government,” Lujan Grisham wrote. “I cannot allow this.”

The governor recently traveled to Washington to speak with top wildfire recovery officials as the largest blaze in the United States chars more dry forests in northern New Mexico.

The massive fire was the result of federally planned burns to clear vegetation and reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire. As the flames escaped containment, thousands of residents were forced to flee and rural communities now face threats of post-fire flooding and other problems.

Lujan Grisham said New Mexico’s resources have already been taxed by wildfire emergencies and he cannot “take on additional burdens that are directly within the jurisdiction of the federal government.”

Last month, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s plan to lift restrictions on migrants, ordering they remain in place while a lawsuit led by Arizona and Louisiana – and now joined by 22 other states – takes place in court.

Migrants have been deported more than 1.9 million times since March 2020 under Title 42, a public health provision that denies them the ability to seek asylum under US law and an international treaty in the reason to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Along with the ruling that the Biden administration failed to follow administrative procedures requiring public notice and time to gather public comment, the judge cited predictions that ending restrictions would likely increase border crossings to at 18,000 per day. This, the judge noted, would result in the treatment of more migrants in gathering places where contagious diseases can spread.

The New Mexico governor’s office did not specify how many migrants the state could expect if restrictions were lifted.

Lujan Grisham had been a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, and Republicans in New Mexico have repeatedly criticized her for what they see as a lax stance on border security.

The issue is expected to be part of the debate ahead of the November election, when Lujan Grisham takes on GOP challenger Mark Ronchetti.

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