April 10, 2020 By LGO

(Santa Fe, NM) – Following confirmation today of the removal of a planned “man camp” temporary housing settlement in Columbus, New Mexico, Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales thanked residents, elected leaders and civic groups who weighed in with their strong opposition to the project.  The sprawling trailer camp was to be located in the center of the small New Mexico village in Luna County, and would have been home for up to 60 workers – many from out of state – employed in ongoing construction of the massive federal wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Morales had spoken out about his concerns that the “man camp” posed a serious danger to spread the COVID-19 virus to New Mexicans.

“Removal of the Border Wall ‘man camp’ from downtown Columbus, New Mexico is a victory for the people of New Mexico, and critically important for the safety and health of rural residents there.  It is a real victory for everyone whose voices were heard loudly opposing it,” Lt. Governor Morales said. 

“Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has called on all New Mexicans now to help stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus by staying home, doing social distancing, and halting all non-essential activities.  The State and our communities are making herculean efforts to protect residents.  Bringing in dozens of workers from out of state without any regard for the threat of spreading COVID-19 would be extremely reckless, and undermine what we all are doing now.  I congratulate Mayor Salas and Columbus residents, our congressional delegation, and all the dedicated civic groups across New Mexico who worked tirelessly, and were heard clearly, on this important issue.  There is no urgency whatsoever to construct Trump’s Border Wall, either,” Morales added.

More than 20 civic and citizen groups across New Mexico had joined Lt. Governor Morales in opposing the temporary housing settlement, construction of which had already begun in Columbus, NM.  They spelled out their many, strong concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in a letter to Gov. Lujan Grisham earlier this week. 

Signers included New Mexico Café, Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, ACLU of New Mexico, New Mexico Dream Team, Progress Now New Mexico, Equality New Mexico, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, New Mexico Center for Law & Poverty, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Strong Families New Mexico, Southwest Environmental Center, OLE, Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks, Earthkeepers 360, Progress Now New Mexico Education Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center, Gila Resources Information Project, Defenders of Wildlife, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Network in the Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, and Halting and Healing the Border Disorder.