In all, it looks like five of her bills are concerned with what’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, or with immigration policy and enforcement:
*HB 287 NO USE OF STATE RESOURCES FOR BORDER WALL
HB 624 IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITIES ACT
HB 625 ACTION ON BEHALF OF REFUGEE CHILDREN
*HB 626 PROHIBIT CERTAIN DETENTION CONTRACTS
SB 196 NO RESOURCES FOR FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW
Yet despite the national attention focused on these issues lately—both the fiery political rhetoric and the constant media attention—no one seems to be talking about these bills. A New Mexico state representative is attempting to pass laws restricting the activities of the Border Patrol and I.C.E. in one of the nation’s four border states! Why was I hard pressed to find even a few relevant articles from the last month? Even those I did find simply noted that the bills had been introduced or sent to committee without much further reporting or discussion.
Perhaps no one’s talking about these bills because they’re unlikely to make it through their committees for a third reading and vote on the House floor. If they don’t stand a chance of becoming law, they simply don’t warrant much attention, right? The 2019 legislative session ends a week from tomorrow, at noon on Friday, March 15. At this point HB 287 is the only one of these five bills to have made it to the House calendar; HB 624, 625, and 626 are held up in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, while SB 196 continues to await its day in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maybe the bills’ existence is simply not newsworthy.
Still, I’m struck by the resounding silence.
In particular, while combing news coverage for any mention of them, I was fascinated to find that when Rep. Rubio sat for a half-hour interview this past week with KRWG (“Public Media for Southwestern New Mexico and Far West Texas”), the host never even mentioned the region’s hotly-debated border crisis, Border Patrol, I.C.E., or immigration. He spent all their time talking about her bills related to the minimum wage, oil and gas revenue, and… the fact that she biked to the capital to raise awareness for her first sponsored bill of the session, HB 192: FIVE FEET FOR PASSING BICYCLES.
Seriously. They led with that.
Apparently Public Media for Southwestern New Mexico thinks unsafe bike lanes are a bigger threat than border crossers.
That is, everyone involved in the production of that segment knew they had the opportunity to grill a state representative about her multiple bills related to border security, specifically, preventing federal agents from tapping into state resources to monitor the border, wall it off, or enforce immigration policy. I’d have thought their viewers would take a strong interest in those matters, one way or another. But they didn’t bother to bring it up. What does that tell us?
To me it signals that despite the ranting and raving of politicians in D.C., the people who actually live along the New Mexico–Mexico border don’t presently feel threatened by Central American migrants invading their towns and upending their lives—at least when compared with the danger posed by cars clipping bike handles.