There’s Still Some Sanity Left in New Mexico
By Colton R. Overcash | March 29, 2019
In a surprising admission, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said earlier this month that she had concerns with legislation that would’ve made New Mexico a sanctuary state. That may just have stopped the bills dead in their tracks.
During a press interview, she said “I think there are legitimate concerns that I’ve heard raised in (legislative) committees about what that does to New Mexico’s ability get federal funds.” She was referring to President Trump’s executive order that denies federal funding to state and local governments who’ve adopted sanctuary policies.
She’s not alone, not even just among the new Democrat governors in the Southwest. Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) has so far been reluctant to support a sanctuary proposal that is under consideration in the state legislature there. Nevada Governor Bill Sisolak (D), too, has said he’s uninterested in making Nevada a sanctuary state.
Aside from federal funds, public safety is another big concern for state and local officials. San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari (R) said the proposals would deprive him of an important resource. “My job is to make sure everyone is safe,” he said. “ICE is a resource to me.”
State Representative Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas) agreed, saying that “our law enforcement agencies need to be able to interact with other agencies, including federal ones.”
It looks like Grisham’s concerns pressured the legislature to abandon the proposals and focus on other priorities instead. Otherwise state lawmakers risked public embarrassment and a potential veto had they passed the measures without securing her support first.
The bills eventually died in committee when the legislature adjourned on March 16. And unless Democrats can convince the governor to change her mind, or get three-fifths of the legislature to call a special session, the proposals will remain dead for the rest of this year.
As expected, the open-borders lobby is furious and already calling foul. Marcela Diaz of Somos Un Pueblo Unido said Grisham “shouldn’t cave into the racist and illegal threats of President Trump, especially when so many New Mexican lives are at stake.”
Of course, the surprise defeat doesn’t affect local communities that already provide legal protections to criminal aliens. There are already approximately 11 cities and counties in New Mexico that FAIR designated as sanctuary jurisdictions in its 2017 sanctuary report.
Governor Grisham made a sound decision by choosing not to throw her support behind these dangerous and unlawful proposals, even if she only thought it was about money rather than good policy. Hopefully her counterparts in other states will do the same. Even she recognizes that sanctuary policies are a disaster for law-abiding communities. Perhaps there’s still hope for New Mexico.