Albuquerque voters will be able to choose two new members of Congress in 2012.
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D) retired after five terms in office. Representative Martin Heinrich (D) left his seat in the 1st Congressional District to run for the open senate seat. That means his U.S House seat will be a race to watch.
Three Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination on the ballot in November – former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez, State Senator Eric Griego and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham. I covered the Democratic 1st Congressional District primary for NMPolitics.net:
Chávez’s past may be a ‘double-edged sword’
Griego: ‘People want you to stand for something’
Grisham has already defied expectations
New Mexico has flown under the radar for years in the national immigration debate. Maybe it’s the state’s small population of about 2 million residents. It might also be the unique demographics – about 44% of New Mexicans identify as Hispanic or Latino. State and local leaders, especially in northern New Mexico, have adopted policies to protect immigrants from discrimination. New Mexico also currently lets anyone get a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. But, some immigrants’ rights advocates are raising concerns that federal policies and local politics are hurting the state’s tolerant culture.
I did two stories for KUNM as part of my fellowship with the Institute for Justice and Journalism’s Immigration in the Heartland program.
New Mexico’s Immigration History Shapes Debate Today
Secure Communities Targets Undocumented Immigrants In NM
Albuquerque has a small but growing population of Iraqi residents. Many of them have been resettled in New Mexico as refugees. They have to overcome differences in language and culture, but many are also finding it difficult to start over after leaving behind careers and wealth in Iraq.
Iraqi Refugees Face Unique Challenges In New Mexico
The idea of assimilation has long been an issue for immigrant families, but New Mexico resident Bay Stevens says she has also struggled with the concept of assimilation as an American citizen.
That’s why she organized an event to have people talk about what it means to be American today. My interview with Bay aired on All Things Considered on KUNM.
Do You Feel American?
There’s a new building in downtown Albuquerque. Developers aim to be part of both the revitalization of downtown and change how people think about affordable housing. I did a tour an interview with Mark Allison, the executive director of the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico.
Downtown At 700 2nd
In the Albuquerque mayor’s race, some community advocates are concerned about the use of the term sanctuary in campaign materials.
The phrase has been used in debates on crime and public safety.