SANTA FE ― House Bill 292, which would bar the federal government from using state lands to build a wall on New Mexico’s border with Mexico, has passed the House Government, Indian and Veterans Affairs Committee (HGIVC) in a partisan 5-4 vote.
In an impassioned debate, the bill’s sponsors, Representatives Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla Park), Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) and Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe), stated that a wall divides communities, destabilizes trade with Mexico, runs contrary to New Mexico’s core values, and hampers economic development.
“Since 1991, there’s been $1 billion in private investment at the Santa Teresa border alone and 200,000 New Mexican jobs directly related to our trade with Mexico,” McCamley said. “We need to continue growing a 21st-century economy and this wall, like moats and castles, belongs in the 12th-century.”
“This wall is not a solution, but rather a symbol of division,” Rubio said. “This wall is a very, very, expensive political distraction that will only divide communities, hurt our economy and cost taxpayers billions.”
“For much of our state’s history we have shared strong and close economic and cultural ties with the people of Mexico,” Trujillo said. “That interconnected relationship has benefitted New Mexicans by providing jobs, improving livelihoods and cultural ties that would be severely damaged by the wall that is being proposed under this current presidential administration.”
If enacted, HB 292 would prohibit any property owned or held in trust by the state to be used, sold, leased or eased to the federal government for the construction of a barrier. If a wall is built due to the federal government’s use of its eminent domain authority, HB 292 would make it clear that the federal government must provide clear reasoning as to why a border wall with Mexico is in the public’s best interest. House Bill 292 will be heard next on the House floor.