New Mexico

Biden’s Horn of Africa diplomat visiting New Mexico next week

Next week, Joe Biden’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOA) Ambassador Mike Hammer, is traveling to Santa Fe to speak at Global Santa Fe and the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum (SFWAF).

The forum is set for May 18th and will be held at the Santa Fe Community College Board Room.

Hammer was named the United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa on June 1, 2022. His most recent assignment abroad was as the U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 2018 to 2022.

“Ambassador Hammer is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service class of Minister-Counselor.  His over three decades of service include serving as Acting Senior Vice President of the National Defense University (NDU) and Deputy Commandant of NDU’s Eisenhower School. He [was] U.S. ambassador to Chile from 2014-2016. Prior to his appointment in Chile, Ambassador Hammer served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from March 2012 to August 2013,” wrote SFWAF. 

This is the latest visit from a Biden administration official to the state after U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited New Mexico in April.

Interestingly, Hammer has been appointed by both Republican and Democrat presidents to various roles, beginning in the Obama administration. President Donald Trump appointed him to be the DRC ambassador in 2018, a role he served in until 2022.

More information about the event can be found here.

Biden releases illegal immigrants into U.S. without tracking as Title 42 expires

In the latest concerning development in the U.S. southern border crisis, the Joe Biden regime is now planning to release apprehended illegal immigrants into the country “without court dates or the ability to track them,” as NBC News reports.

“The Biden administration began releasing migrants without court dates to alleviate overcrowding in March 2021, but had previously enrolled those migrants in a program known as Alternatives to Detention, which required them to check in on a mobile app until they were eventually given a court date. The new policy would release them on ‘parole’ with a notice to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office but without enrolling them in the program.” 

The move comes after 11,000 illegal immigrants were caught crossing the southern border on Tuesday — a record that surpasses expectations of 10,000 per day previously predicted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“We’re already breaking and we haven’t hit the starting line,” one DHS official anonymously told NBC News

The increase in illegal immigrant crossings is already ravaging ports of entry in New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas, as well as gaping holes left in the border barrier left unfinished by the Biden administration.

Title 42, a pandemic-era program that allowed the swift deportation of illegal immigrants, is set to end on Thursday, leaving the country in a crisis as limp Biden regime immigration policies have resulted in historic illegal immigrant crossings and a humanitarian crisis exploding on the border. 

Congress is set to vote on Thursday to extend Title 42, but it is unclear at the moment if the proposal will make it across the finish line to Biden’s desk by the 11:59 p.m. deadline when the program is set to expire.

NRC’s approval of Holtec project leaves Gov. Lujan Grisham, AG Torrez fuming

Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez issued a joint statement angered over the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) decision to grant a license to Holtec International for an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel located on land in Eddy and Lea Counties in New Mexico’s extreme southeastern corner. 

“This decision by the NRC – which has been made despite the grave concerns of the state and the legislature over the project’s potential impacts to health, safety and the economy – is incredibly disappointing,” the two Democrats said.

“It also undermines the NRC’s alleged commitment to meaningful engagement with stakeholders, as it appears our concerns were wholly ignored and went unaddressed by Holtec and the NRC,” they wrote, despite the lengthy process Holtec took to receive approvals and work with state and local stakeholders.

The two politicians claimed they “will not stop our fight,” claiming the new interim facility would turn the state into a “nuclear dumping ground.” The project previously got a positive environmental impact statement from the NRC.

These safe fuel rods, housed in secure casks, would be transported by rail to the facility on train shipments specifically for storage. The project would account for over 350 new jobs. 

The casks are immune to hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and even the impact of a plane crash. There would be no adverse effect on wildlife nor on groundwater, no radiological consequences in the event of a fire, and an inconspicuous design.

“Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 53, which will impose new, more robust state licensing requirements for this project before any construction may begin. In the meantime, we are evaluating available legal recourse and will take any action necessary to make sure that ground is never broken on this ‘interim’ facility in New Mexico,” the two Democrats’ offices wrote in the joint statement.

It is immediately unclear what “actions” the politicians seek to take, which would be bucking federal regulatory agencies — something they do not have the power to regulate. 

El Pollo Loco expanding to New Mexico with nine new locations

The popular fast-food chicken restaurant ​​El Pollo Loco, specializing in Los Angeles-style fire-grilled Mexican chicken, is opening new locations in New Mexico with the signing of new development agreements. 

“A deal with Mass Equities EPL LLC will result in 10 units over eight years with the first restaurants due by December 2024 for Larimer County and portions of Boulder, Broomfield and Weld Counties in northern Colorado. The second and third deals, signed by CB Pollo NM 1 and CB Pollo Tx 1, respectfully, includes nine units for New Mexico and seven in El Paso,” wrote

“El Pollo Loco’s corporate team has made it an easy decision to grow our franchise operations with them,” Mass Equities Founder and CEO Drew Sobel said in a company press release. “The brand’s growth over the past few years is evident and its unique offering supported by excellence in operations is a strategic fit for our portfolio of businesses. Fueled by the brand’s initial success in the Colorado market, we look forward to bringing the El Pollo Loco experience to northern parts of the state.”

El Pollo Loco (“The Crazy Chicken”), Houston via Wikimedia Commons.

The chain is looking to increase its national footprint by featuring its latest dining room design options, an enhanced digitized experience with self-ordering kiosks, mobile to-go and delivery pick-up areas, and digital menu boards.

Since 1980, the restaurant has operated 490 company-owned and franchised locations across the United States. 

El Pollo Loco describes its food as the “SoCal lifestyle meets Mexican heritage. It’s better-for-you choices like fire-grilled chicken and tradition-inspired temptations like Overstuffed Quesadillas. It’s burritos, taquitos and tacos with a fresh California Twist. It’s a menu that can meet any dietary need from paleo to vegetarian to straight out craving. Simply said, it’s L.A. active, it’s Mexican proud and it’s exactly what you’ll find at El Pollo Loco.” 

Billionaire-funded eco group pushes ‘electrify everything’ agenda in NM

The far-left enviro-Marxist dark money group 350 New Mexico, funded by billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer, is holding an event on May 22, 2023, called “Electrify New Mexico,” which aims to push policies that push electric appliances and vehicles in the place of those that run on gas and other natural extractive resources.

The group wrote in a post, “Concerned about health-harming gases in your kitchen? Want an EV, but don’t like the choices available for purchase? Join us as we unveil our new Electrify New Mexico website. It will answer these and other questions about how going electric will save you money, clean your air and reduce carbon emissions.” 

Some of the items the group says it wants to become electric include heat pumps, induction stoves, heat pump water heaters, heat pump clothes dryers, electric vehicles, and EV chargers.

“They offer superior efficiency, precision, comfort, and health benefits at the same or lower cost as gas appliances,” the group claims. “And because electricity generation grows cleaner every day, switching to electric is better for the climate too.” 

The far-left group has joined others in recent weeks in blasting a veto of hefty electric vehicle tax credits from a recently passed tax package and claims the state Legislature did not do enough to help stop “climate change.”

The group says on its website that it aims at cutting “eliminate 80% of US energy-related emissions” by switching all gas appliances and cars for electric. It says, “Our largest carbon emissions come from our gas cars (50%), home heating (25%) and water heating (10%).” 

350 New Mexico also believes that natural disasters and drought weather are due to “climate change,” along with wildfires and reduced snowpack.

Democrats, such as Democrat New Mexico U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, have made similar calls to “electrify” everything for the sake of “climate change.” Recently, the Joe Biden regime has taken steps to develop rules limiting the sale of gas appliances and even targeting water usage in dishwashers. 

AG Torrez attempts to halt Eunice’s lawsuit over pro-abortion state law

On Tuesday, it was reported that Democrat New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez is attempting to halt Eunice’s lawsuit against the AG and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over the passage of H.B. 7, a newly passed 2023 state law attempting to usurp authority from federal law upheld in the federal Comstock Act. 

KRQE News reports, “The idea behind the latest filing is to try to get the district court to put the lawsuit on hold while the state’s Supreme Court makes a decision on a similar case. At the heart of the debate is whether or not individual cities are allowed to set local ordinances that might contradict state laws.” 

“Eunice, New Mexico, is arguing that federal law trumps state law and makes it illegal to ship or receive abortion medication. The city has also pointed out that ‘the city’s ordinance does not outlaw or prohibit abortion.’” 

The AG, “The City of Eunice enacted an ordinance purporting to enforce a federal law governing the sending of abortion-related materials through the mail or by common carrier. In its Complaint, the City seeks a declaratory judgment that House Bill 7 is contrary to and preempted by federal law. The City also seeks a declaratory judgment on what constitutes “the medical standard of care” under House Bill 7 in relation to the federal law.” 

“In this case, the interests of justice favor staying the matter pending resolution of the petition for writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court. Indeed, in the context at hand, when a stay implicates the New Mexico Supreme Court’s primacy as the state court of last resort to rule on a novel issue impacting the whole state simultaneously pending in the lower courts, the imposition of a brief stay is warranted. Judicial economy also favors staying the matter,” he claims.

Michael J. Seibel, the attorney representing the City of Eunice, says the City opposes Torrez’s request.

“We don’t think that the Supreme Court is addressing the issue that we have raised in the Eunice lawsuit,” Seibel told KRQE News 13

Sebel told the Piñon Post, “The Attorney General is trying to avoid the Comstock Act decision,” adding, “The Comstock Act is the law of the land, and it preempts state law.” 

“If they don’t like the Comstock Act, then change it, but that’s the law right now. And until the law is changed, laws must be enforced.”

Photo rendering of the proposed Holtec consolidated interim storage facility courtesy of Holtec International.

U.S. regulators deliver massive blow to NM Holtec project’s opponents

On Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) granted Holtec International a license to construct a facility in Eddy and Lea counties to safely and temporarily store spent nuclear fuel, according to the Associated Press.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Democrats rammed through the extreme S.B. 53 despite bipartisan opposition to try and preempt the company from coming to New Mexico.

Sens. Moe Maestas (D-Bernalillo) and Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo), as well as Reps. Ambrose Castellano (D-Ribera), Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Meredith Dixon (D-Bernalillo), Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup), and Joseph Sanchez (D-Alcalde) joined all Republicans in opposition to the unconstitutional bill.

These safe fuel rods, housed in secure casks, would be transported by rail to the facility on train shipments specifically for storage. The project would account for over 350 new jobs. 

The casks are immune to hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and even the impact of a plane crash. There would be no adverse effect on wildlife nor on groundwater, no radiological consequences in the event of a fire, and an inconspicuous design. 

The project previously got a positive environmental impact statement from the NRC.

The spent fuel would be stored at the Holtec site “until the Federal Government provides a repository for permanent storage or other permanent disposition as required by law,” according to Holtec. 

New Mexico is ideal for such a facility due to its “typography, arid climate, [the] sparse population at the site’s location, and proximity to transportation infrastructure,” Holtec wrote.

Even former Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, wrote that the state has no jurisdiction to ban nuclear fuel storage in New Mexico.

He wrote in 2018, referencing case law, “Taken together, both Bullcreek and Nielson clearly establish two principles: first, that the NRC has the statutory authority to license and regulate consolidated interim nuclear waste storage facilities, and secondly, that the comprehensiveness of that federal regulatory scheme preempts virtually any state involvement.” 

Balderas further wrote in the opinion, “While there are a large number of factors that are considered by the NRC in evaluating a license application, state approval is not among them.” 

Even the Joe Biden administration has recognized the need for nuclear fuel, writing that it “made a commitment to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the energy industry by 2035. Nuclear energy is a part of that solution.” 

Despite all sides coming together in support of nuclear energy being a viable solution to our nation’s energy needs, Democrats continue to harp on decades-old fear tactics to keep investment, namely the multi-billion-dollar Holtec project, from investing in New Mexico’s future. However, the court challenge to the unconstitutional law is imminent.

Leftist columnist reveals surprising take on email signature pronouns

The Santa Fe New Mexican’s columnist Randall Balmer, who says his “politics lean left, sometimes far to the left,” recently posted a column criticizing the use of pronouns in one’s email signature as over-the-top. He also commented on the grammatical incorrectness of using “they/them” and other words that are meant to represent more than one person in an article titled “Don’t look for pronouns on my email signature.”

“Aesthetically, the eclipse of singular pronouns — she/her, he/him — in favor of plural — they/them — has wreaked havoc on sentence structure. As an insufferable grammarian, I cringe whenever I hear statements like, ‘Everyone has a right to their opinion,’ utterly disregarding the fact that everyone is singular, not plural. My rejoinder is likely to be something along the lines of, ‘No, everyone are not entitled to their opinions,’” he wrote.

“Second Wave feminists argued that people should not be defined by gender but by their abilities and their attainments. Denying equal opportunity simply on the basis of essential characteristics related to sex and gender, they insisted, was inherently unfair. To appropriate Martin Luther King’s words, individuals should be judged not by external characteristics but by the ‘content of their character.’”

He then went even harder on the pronoun fad sweeping across the globe, writing, “The mania for specifying pronouns signals an unfortunate recidivism back to the days of gendered essentialism. People seem all too willing to reduce their entire identities to gender, whether female, male, trans, cis, bi, below the belt or over the top. It’s so important, they argue, that it needs to be stated prominently, whether in conversation or in the signature line of emails.” 

“I understand that this obsession is fueled in part by people struggling with their own gender identities. I sympathize; the road to clarity for many is fraught and painful. But the sum of an individual is infinitely greater than gender or pronouns or sexual preference and should never be reduced to that,” Balmer concluded. 

Although Balmer is a left-winger and even leans far-left on many issues, even he cannot stand the obsession over pronouns.

Will Rep. Vasquez vote to avert border catastrophe by extending Title 42?

First-term U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District represents one of the two swing districts held by Democrats that include swaths of the southern border. The other vulnerable Democrat is Rep. Vicente Gonzales of Texas. 

Since Joe Biden took office, over six million illegal immigrants have flooded into the United States. Some of the immigration catastrophe has been averted due to Title 42, which was implemented first during the Trump administration, which grants removals by the U.S. government of persons who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present. However, Title 42 is set to expire on May 11, 2023.

Recently in El Paso, TX — just 46 miles from the Second District — over 1,000 migrants rushed the Paso Del Norte bridge border entry point.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a measure, H.R. 2, to extend the policy that has alleviated some of the border fiasco. 

According to Axios, “Months of work” on the GOP package have resulted in “the strongest border security package that Congress has ever taken up,” said Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA).

“The bill also includes money to improve technology for border security and additional border personnel,” reported the outlet.

“The crisis at the border is unfolding in these vulnerable Democrats’ backyards. They can either vote with their extreme party leadership or do something to alleviate the pain for their constituents – and we will be watching closely whose side they choose,” wrote National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Delanie Bomar in a statement to the Piñon Post

Vasquez is one of the most vulnerable House Democrats up in 2024, with the NRCC putting his seat on the shortlist of congressional districts being targeted in Next November’s election. Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who held the seat between 2021 to 2023, is running again for the seat with national figures, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was in Las Cruces for her election kickoff. 

NM had one of the highest gaming revenue jumps in 2022

Figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) show that New Mexico had the sixth-highest gaming revenue growth among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The figures show New Mexico’s gaming revenue grew 20.5 percent from 2021 to 2022, ranking only below Michigan (20.7 percent increase), Illinois (25.5 percent increase), New Hampshire (52.3 percent increase), New York (55.9 percent increase), and Oregon (62.8 percent increase). 

In 2022, New Mexico took in $262.0 million in gaming revenue versus $217.5 million in 2021. 

Nationally, legal gaming brought in $60.4 billion in revenue in 2022, which broke an annual record for two consecutive years.

“In 2022, the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City retained their top commercial market positions. The Baltimore-Washington, D.C. market reclaimed its position as the nation’s third largest gaming market, besting Chicagoland (fourth) and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (fifth) which round out the top five,” according to AGA.

“Twenty-five of the 28 states on the list increased gambling revenue from 2021 to 2022. New York brought in $909 million in revenue in its first year of legalized sports betting sites. Oregon has tried to expand wagering into college sports but has yet to be successful. New Hampshire has traditionally drawn wagers from neighboring Massachusetts, which, as of 2023, is allowing online and mobile sports wagering,” reported KRDO News.

“Our industry significantly outpaced expectations in 2022,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Simply put, American adults are choosing casino gaming for entertainment in record numbers, benefitting communities, and taking market share from the predatory, illegal marketplace.”

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