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Gov. Lujan Grisham requests delay of U.S. Department of Homeland Security plan to transport migrants, emphasizes New Mexico cannot shoulder federal responsibilities during record wildfire season

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas requesting the federal government delay planned or expanded efforts to transport migrants to New Mexico as they would dramatically affect the state’s capacity to provide ongoing humanitarian assistance to wildfire relief efforts.

The letter follows the governor’s meeting with DHS Sec. Mayorkas last month, where she requested additional wildfire disaster assistance from the federal government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The governor’s request was recently granted by President Joe Biden, who announced that the federal government will cover 100% of costs for emergency protective work and debris removal under New Mexico’s existing wildfire disaster declaration.

In the letter, the governor emphasizes that both state government and local humanitarian organizations are focused on supporting and assisting the thousands of New Mexicans displaced by and affected by the ongoing disaster as numerous wildfires continue to burn throughout the state.

“The existing emergency arising from these wildfires has severely taxed the capacity of our state to provide resources to non-New Mexicans. I cannot allow the governments and communities of the state of New Mexico to shoulder additional burdens falling squarely within the federal government’s purview,” the governor writes.

Regarding the federal government’s plans to address the influx of migrants at the southern border, the governor adds: “I have serious concerns regarding the Department’s readiness to address the influx of individuals who are poised to enter New Mexico if further preparation is not undertaken. Public safety and health are paramount, and I do not believe that the Department can adequately address these health and safety concerns if existing limitations on migrant entry are lifted.”

The governor will continue to work to ensure that New Mexico communities and governments are not burdened with additional economic and social impacts that would limit or detract from critical wildfire response and recovery efforts.

The letter in its entirety can be found here.