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The Latest: New Mexico offers grants for immigrant aid

May 21, 2019
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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan arrives for an immigration speech by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan arrives for an immigration speech by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on immigration and border-related concerns in New Mexico (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state is creating a grant program to reimburse local government agencies that provide humanitarian aid to migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The first-year Democratic governor announced the grant application process in a letter to Republic lawmakers who have criticized her response to an influx of migrants.

Lujan Grisham says it’s her role to arrange support for aid groups while she seeks assistance from the federal government.

Municipalities including Las Cruces and Deming say they are struggling to keep up with the needs of immigrants seeking temporary shelter and necessities. The U.S. Border Patrol is dropping off hundreds of asylum seekers daily in southern New Mexico.

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4 p.m.

A New Mexico county has approved a resolution opposing the relocation of migrants within its boundaries as federal authorities grapple with the influx of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Sierra County Commission approved the resolution during a meeting Tuesday, saying there’s a crisis in southern New Mexico and that the thousands of migrants already released in Las Cruces, Deming and Lordsburg have strained local resources in those areas.

The resolution asks President Donald Trump to close the U.S.-Mexico border to immigration.

County officials say their position shouldn’t be viewed as political or racist. They described their community as impoverished with virtually no resources and said the resolution is about good governance.

They warned that if federal authorities release migrants in Sierra County, there are no buses, rail stops or commercial flights to transport them to sponsors elsewhere.

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2:20 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is traveling to Washington, D.C., to press for more federal resources to cope with an influx of asylum seekers at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said the governor was departing Tuesday for a scheduled face-to-face meeting this week with acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

Stelnicki said the governor will advocate for federal reimbursements to local communities as they provide humanitarian relief to migrant families.

Lujan Grisham also wants to discuss the U.S. Border Patrol’s withdrawal from interior checkpoints in southern New Mexico that has riled local residents.

The first-year Democratic governor also is seeking an introductory meeting with Energy Secretary Rick Perry regarding his oversight of nuclear waste storage facilities and federal weapons laboratories in New Mexico.

The governor’s trip includes partisan fundraising activities.

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1 a.m.

A dozen Republican state legislators want Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to reverse course and deploy more National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.

GOP House lawmakers including minority leader James Townsend of Artesia provided a letter Monday to the governor’s office that urges Lujan Grisham to deploy more state National Guard troops to border communities.

Lujan Grisham has challenged President Trump’s description of a security crisis on the border and withdrawn all but a dozen national guardsmen who continue to address humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for border-crossing immigration.

The Republican lawmakers are citing emergency declarations by Otero County over reduced staffing at Border Patrol checkpoints and the city of Deming’s complaints about the strain of sheltering asylum seekers who are released by federal immigration authorities.

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