A Different Kind Of Border State

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

“State of the State” Listener Commentary Series

Totally cool project we did this spring! Let people write their own state of the state address for New Mexico.

There’s a lot of things that people are concerned about – the economy, state investment scandals and health care.  We put out a call for commentaries and got some amazing, thoughtful submissions.   Elaine (our Morning Edition host) and I helped our commentators edit and record their ideas.   Here are a few:

Julia Goldberg: A 12 Step  Recovery Program for New Mexico

Thomas Ornsby: Two Bright Things That Should Be Supported

Lora Lucero: A Grandmother’s Perspective

Paul Krza: Tax The Big Guy, Not  The Little One

Nonprofits Continue Legal Battle

Last spring, the groups sent a set of mailers to voters after the legislative session that pointed out campaign contributions and the voting records of some state lawmakers.  Those mailers led to  a legal storm that’s lasted more than a year.

After a lawsuit was filed by three defeated Democrats in the June primary, Secretary of State Mary Herrera ruled last year that New Mexico Youth Organized, or NMYO, a project of the Center for Civic Policy, and the Southwest Organizing Project must register as political action committees, or PACS, and disclose their donors.

The nonprofits have argued that they followed federal guidelines in both the language and timing of the mailers and the federal district court judge ruled in their favor last month.


Boys and Girls Ranches

Nonprofit organizations across the country are facing a decline in donations and some tough choices about possible changes in their programs. In New Mexico, the Boy’s and Girl’s Ranches are consolidating their services to save money. That means a lot of changes for the at-risk teens who are living on one ranch south of Albuquerque.

The Ranches