- Associated Press - Monday, September 16, 2019

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to New Mexico (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he can win New Mexico and boasted that an oil and gas boom has helped to grow the state’s revenues.

During a rally Monday night in New Mexico, the president asked supporters to give him more time in office. The crowd of thousands responded by chanting: “Four more years.”

Dianna Arvizu, an El Paso, Texas-native who now lives in Albuquerque, was among those in the crowd. She said Trump has a strong chance at capturing New Mexico.

She called his visit “big,” saying “He’s coming for us in New Mexico because he cares.”

Trump told the crowd that the number of new business licenses in New Mexico is outpacing other states.

In a nod to New Mexico’s large Hispanic population, he mentioned the start of Hispanic Heritage Month and said the median income for Hispanics has finally surpassed $50,000 a year.


6:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in New Mexico and is on his way to a rally in a suburb of Albuquerque.

Thousands of people were gathered at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, awaiting the president’s arrival for Monday evening’s rally. Many had been waiting in line since the morning to hear the president speak.

Near downtown Albuquerque, a few hundred Democrats gathered to hold their own rally. Some elected leaders spoke, including U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland.

She described the president as misogynistic and ego-driven, saying Democrats will fight to make sure New Mexico stays blue, referring to the hold Democrats have had on the state for years.

Haaland said: “We can roll back Trump and we can roll back his policies and we can win New Mexico in 2020.”


5:20 p.m.

Thousands of people poured into a New Mexico arena Monday evening after waiting outside for hours for a political rally that will be headlined by President Donald Trump.

The crowd included many wearing the red caps that have become a symbol of the president’s agenda. Outside, vendors sold political T-shirts and other merchandise.

Trump’s campaign has suggested the historically Democratic state could be flipped in the next election and many of those in attendance agreed.

Skeeter Trent was among those who believe Trump can win more voters in New Mexico in 2020. The 55-year-old Rio Rancho resident says the president’s visit will spark excitement and will help other Republican candidates.

A few dozen protesters gathered across the street from the arena. It was a much smaller number of demonstrators than Trump’s two previous visits to the Albuquerque metro area during the 2016 campaign.


4:20 p.m.

Democratic student activists and congressional representatives are holding a voter registration drive as President Trump travels to New Mexico for a political rally.

U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján of Nambé and Debra Haaland of Albuquerque joined student Democrats on campus at the University of New Mexico on Monday in urging eligible voters to register.

Luján announced the registration drive in an email hours before Trump’s scheduled political rally at an arena in Rio Rancho. Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 8 percentage points in 2016.

Democratic elected officials have seized on Trump’s visit to organize their own rally near Albuquerque’s historic plaza.


2:20 p.m.

The Trump administration is highlighting an immigration crisis and a thriving local oil industry in New Mexico as the president prepares to visit the border state for the first time since taking office.

Senior administration officials on Monday said communities at the border have seen major influxes of migrants crossing the border illegally.

Several groups of more than 100 migrants largely composed of Central American families have been detained this year after crossing into New Mexico.

New Mexico communities also have struggled to provide temporary shelter to thousands of asylum-seeking migrants released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection without economic assistance as the migrants seek out final destinations.

Administration officials note that New Mexico’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9% amid a surge in local oil production.


12:35 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is taking aim at President Donald Trump ahead of his visit to the state for a campaign rally.

The first-year Democratic governor described the president as being demeaning to Hispanics and immigrants since being elected. She also said Trump’s policies have resulted in increased taxes for some New Mexicans.

A vocal critic of the president, Lujan Grisham touted her own administration for its efforts to raise the minimum wage in New Mexico and to shift more investments to renewable energy, suggesting Trump hasn’t helped the state.

However, Republican supporters argue that Democratic lawmakers pushed for tax increases during the last legislative session and that the president’s economic policies and the oil boom in southeastern New Mexico have helped generate revenues for the state.


10:10 a.m.

A crowd is gathering for President Donald Trump’s rally in New Mexico.

Hundreds of people showed up early Monday to ensure their place in line ahead of the evening event in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque.

Schools and some local government offices were closed in preparation for the president’s visit to New Mexico’s largest metro area. Law enforcement agencies also warned residents about roads that would be closed as the president’s motorcade travels to the rally.

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said his city was prepared to keep things as peaceful as possible as protesters vowed to step up acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations.

Thousands of people were expected to attend, and Democrats were planning their own gathering near downtown Albuquerque. Some groups and political candidates purchased billboard space to display their opposition to Trump.

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