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GATHERING IN THE WEST | New Mexico is still the most Hispanic state; data sheds light on rural labor shortage | Coronavirus

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NEW MEXICO

State retains title of most Hispanic state in nation

SANTA FE – New Mexico retained its title as the most Hispanic state in the country, with 47.7% of 2020 census respondents identifying ancestry related to Latin America and other Spanish-speaking regions.

On August 12, the Census Bureau released new demographic details from the census.

California and Texas were close behind, with about 39% of residents claiming Latin or Hispanic heritage. Almost 31% of Arizona residents describe themselves as Hispanic.

In New Mexico, Latin American pride runs deep in an area of ​​the United States where the Spanish conquerors arrived in the late 1500s and where Mexico ruled for decades in the 19th century. The state is currently ruled by its third consecutive Hispanic governor.

The new figures on ethnicity and race have implications for the political redistribution process as states redesign legislative and legislative constituencies later this year in a bid to preserve communities of common interest. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits plans that intentionally or inadvertently discriminate on the basis of race by diluting the minority vote.

The share of New Mexico residents who identify as Native by race or ancestry combined was 12.4%. Alaska was the most Native American state in the United States, followed by Oklahoma and New Mexico.

A previous set of data released in April showed that New Mexico’s population grew 2.8% over the past decade, making it one of the slowest growing states in the Western Hemisphere. United States, adding about 58,000 to a population of just over 2.1 million.

In the West, only Wyoming has experienced a slower growth rate. The United States had 331 million inhabitants last year, an increase of 7.4% from 2010.

Prosecutors offer Cowboys plea deal for Trump founder

SANTA FE – Federal prosecutors have offered the Cowboys a confidential plea deal for Trump founder Couy Griffin that could resolve criminal misdemeanor charges against him related to the headquarters of the United States Capitol on January 6, according to discussions during an August 9 hearing in Washington. .

The New Mexico County Commissioner continues to deny federal accusations that he knowingly entered barricaded areas of Capitol Hill in an attempt to disrupt the government as Congress considered the 2020 Electoral College results.

Griffin reached an outdoor patio of the Capitol without entering the building and used a megaphone to try and lead a tumultuous crowd in prayer. He was arrested after returning to Washington for opposing the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

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The Griffin case came close to a trial in United States District Court in Washington as federal prosecutors presented vast treasure troves of evidence at the Capitol building from security cameras, tapes police setbacks and social media posts.

The charges against Griffin carry a maximum prison sentence of one year and have implications for Griffin’s future in public service.

As a first-term commissioner in Otero County, southern New Mexico, Griffin faces a petition to remove him from office with a special election and an investigation by state prosecutors into the allegations that Griffin used his public service in coordination with Cowboys for Trump for personal financial gain.

NEBRASKA

Rural population losses add to labor shortages on farms and ranches

OMAHA – Rural America lost more population in the last census, highlighting an already severe shortage of workers in the country’s farming and ranching regions and drawing calls from these industries for immigration reform to help alleviate the problem.

Census data released on August 12 showed that population gains in many rural areas were due to increasing numbers of Hispanic and Latino residents, many of whom come as immigrants to work on farms or in settlements. meat packing plants or to set up their own business.

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The demographic trend is clear in Nebraska, where only 24 of the state’s 93 counties have gained residents. Of those 24, only eight reported an increase in the white population, suggesting that most of the growth was due to minorities, said David Drozd, research coordinator for the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska Omaha. .

Drozd analyzed census data and found that the counties in Nebraska with the most racial diversity are a “who’s who of where the meat packing plants are”, even though many factories are in rural areas that are often perceived as predominantly white.

The National Pork Producers Council is pushing federal lawmakers to change the H-2A visa program so that migrant workers can stay employed longer.

In Kansas, some rural Republicans say Congress must find a practical solution.

Nancy Weeks, secretary of the Republican Party for Haskell County in southwest Kansas, said if immigrants living in the United States want to illegally settle in the area and work, they should have a way of getting a job. legal status “so they pay taxes like me. do.”

Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, said his group would like to see changes that would allow seasonal immigrant workers to stay in the country longer.

“These people buy houses. They bring their families. They go to our churches. They earn money and spend it locally,” he said. “It really is a win-win for these communities.”

Rachel Gantz, spokesperson for the National Pork Producers Council, said her group would continue to press Congress for changes.

“Put simply, pork producers rely on a rapidly shrinking pool of candidates,” she said.

UTAH

Mormon leaders urge members to dress up and get vaccinated

SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has renewed its previous calls for members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear face masks during public gatherings on August 12.

Church leaders said in a statement that the available vaccines have been shown to be both safe and effective and urged members to help limit the spread of the virus. The message was the latest in a series of statements by religious leaders encouraging COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

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In Utah, where the church is based, a summer wave of the virus among unvaccinated residents continued to grow as vaccination rates edged up.

New data from the Utah Department of Health has shown that state residents who are not vaccinated 7.6 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and 6.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are vaccinated.

About 58% of Utah residents aged 12 and older were fully immunized as of August 12, according to state data.

NAVAJO NATION

Former tribal president Kelsey Begaye has died aged 70

WINDOW ROCK, Arizona – Navajo Nation officials have called for all flags of the vast reservation to be hoisted at half mast in honor of former tribal president Kelsey Begaye.

They said Begaye, who served as President of the Navajo Nation from 1999 to 2003, died of natural causes on August 15 in Flagstaff. He was 70 years old.

Current Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement that Begaye “was a very humble and loving person who overcame hardships at a young age and turned to his faith to be a loving family man. , a Vietnam veteran and a great leader for his people. “

Begaye was born in Kaibeto, Arizona and enlisted in the United States Army in 1969. He served four years as a radio operator in Vietnam.

Tribal officials said Begaye later became an addiction counselor in the mid-1970s and 1990s, helping many young people overcome drug and alcohol abuse.

After serving two terms as president of the tribal council, Begaye was elected fifth president of the Navajo nation in November 1998.

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