Category Archives: News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs ‘sanctuary cities’ bill into law

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks on the first day of the 85th Legislature on January 10, 2017. [Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune]

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a ban on “sanctuary cities” on Sunday, putting the final touch on legislation that would also allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.

Patrick Svitek | Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a ban on “sanctuary cities” into law on Sunday, putting the final touch on legislation that would also allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.

“Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said in a brief video address on Facebook. Abbott signed the bill without advance notice in a five-minute live broadcast on the social media site, avoiding protests a customary public signing might have drawn.

“We’re going to where most people are getting their news nowadays and talking directly to them instead of speaking through a filter,” said John Wittman, a spokesman for Abbott.

Across the state line in New Mexico, both the city of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County have adopted policies that forbid police and sheriff’s officers from inquiring about immigration status.

NM teams compete to bring solar power to underserved communities

Teams in New Mexico are competing for $1 million in prize money to bring solar to lower-income communities. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Brett McPherson | Public News Service

SANTA FE – Low- and moderate-income households represent 40 percent of America’s population, but less than 5 percent of all solar customers. A national competition is underway to change that, by expanding affordable solar-power access.

A half-dozen teams from New Mexico are among 48 teams from 23 states and Washington, D.C., selected to compete for $1 million in prize money.

The return of the mighty migrant dollar: Remittances to Mexico climb

Frontera NorteSur

A robust flow of remittances to Mexico has returned from the decline marked after the 2008 world economic crisis. As the new year turned the corner, the official Bank of Mexico reported that dollars sent home from migrants working abroad totaled $22.576.35 billion from January to November 2015, ringing up a 5.44 percent increase from the similar period in 2014.

On the trail of terrorists in Juárez

Mike Scanlon | Rio Grande Digital

Mike Scanlon is editor and publisher of Rio Grande Digital.

Mike Scanlon

A shadowy right-wing website caused a minor stir in the Paso del Norte region last week when it claimed — for a second time, citing anonymous “sources” — that a terrorist cell from the Islamic State organization was “camped” out in Juárez, or the Anapra suburb, to be precise, just eight miles from the border.

That can’t be right. First, there is no part of Anapra that is eight miles from the border. Anapra is literally on the border.

NMSU to host talk on issues of digital democracy and Internet usage

NMSU

Author and sociologist Jan A.G.M. van Dijk will visit New Mexico State University to give a talk on “Why the Digital Divide is not Getting Better,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in the Health and Social Services Auditorium, Room 101A.

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. (Courtesy photo)

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. (Courtesy photo)

Van Dijk is a professor of sociology and communication science at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He has been investigating the social aspects of information and communication technology since 1984. His research specializes in social, cultural and political/policy of the digital media.

In his talk, hosted by the Department of Communication Studies, van Dijk will be addressing issues of digital democracy, fallacies about Twitter revolutions and where political empowerment in Internet usage can actually be found.

“Professor van Dijk is a major world-known scholar on the digital divide,” said Kenneth Hacker, communication studies department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Any scholar, school administrator or state official concerned about inequities in computer, the Internet and new media access and usage should be there to meet and talk to him.”

FNS: Daddy smelter’s dirty little souvenirs

Smokestacks tower above the site of the old Asarco smelter on El Paso's West Side.  (Photo from public domain)

Smokestacks tower above the site of the old Asarco smelter on El Paso’s West Side before the 2013 demolition and reclamation of the site. (Photo from public domain)

FNS Note:  The first in a new series of articles about environmental and public health concerns related to the old Asarco smelter in El Paso. This series was made possible by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

 Kent Paterson | Frontera NorteSur

Near Executive Center Boulevard and Interstate 10 in El Paso sits a barren plot of land that played a pivotal if controversial role in the development of the border city. Flanked by freight rail traffic on one side and zooming cars and trucks on the other, black mounds of slag stand almost as if they are the earthworks of a DMZ between the past and the future.

Meth changes from domestic dilemma to international issue

The ingredients used to make methamphetamine create a reaction that is highly flammable and leaves toxic traces behind even after a clandestine lab is gone. (Pennsylvania National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Jones.)

The ingredients used to make methamphetamine create a reaction that is highly flammable and leaves toxic traces behind even after a clandestine lab is gone. (Pennsylvania National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Jones.)

Alicia Alvarez | Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

WASHINGTON – The methamphetamine problem in the United States is complex. It ranges from the simplicity of a clandestine lab in a Wal-Mart bathroom to a failed attempt at sending a drone carrying 6 pounds of the synthetic drug into the country over the border from Mexico.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations are moving to fill the void left by dismantled U.S. meth labs. Mexico’s regulations of meth’s key ingredients – pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine products – are less strict than those in the U.S., where the sale of allergy and cold pills containing any of the decongestants was limited in 2006.

Texas tax system skewed, new report shows

Eric Galatas | Public News Service

In order for Texas to meet infrastructure needs and make sure schools and parks stay open, costs needs to be shared more fairly among taxpayers, according to a new report. (Photo credit: Leaflet/Wikimedia commons.)

In order for Texas to meet infrastructure needs and make sure schools and parks stay open, costs needs to be shared more fairly among taxpayers, according to a new report. (Photo credit: Leaflet/Wikimedia commons.)

AUSTIN, Texas – In order for Texas to meet its infrastructure and public works obligations — making sure bridges don’t collapse and schools and parks are open for business — costs need to be shared fairly among taxpayers, according to a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Brakeyshia Samms, the report’s author and state policy fellow, said the state’s current tax system misses the mark.

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