As DACA debate continues, these Dreamers are saving lives

If Congress fails to reach a deal on immigration in the next couple of weeks, thousands of young people who were brought to this country as children could soon start losing their protection from deportation and their ability to legally work in the United States.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has allowed nearly 689,000 Dreamers to come out from the shadows and openly attend school, get work permits and driver’s licenses and even buy homes without the fear of being deported.

But the March 5 deadline to end DACA, imposed by President Trump imposed last year, is looming. And while the courts have put the termination on hold for now, thousands of DACA recipients will become vulnerable to deportation if the court ruling is overturned and new legislation isn’t put in place.

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For some communities, that would mean the possibility of losing fellow residents who are firefighters, nurses, emergency care workers and teachers.

Here are three Dreamers who are saving and shaping lives in their communities, even as their own fate in America remains perilous.

Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Ana Cueva, 25

As a shock-trauma nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, Ana Cueva has to be prepared for every type of emergency.

"We’re taking care of the sickest of the sick," said Cueva. She’s cared for patients who have been in near-fatal accidents and others who have undergone multi-organ failure. She has even helped in cases of severed spinal cords. "Every day is high anxiety. I have to be on my toes."

"I’ve had to resuscitate patients," said Cueva. "It’s emotionally taxing, but I have to have some degree of separation while I do my job because [the patients’] families are watching."

She’s lost patients, too. "We do our best, but it’s hard when that happens," she said.

Cueva was brought to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, when she was 5 years old. The family overstayed their tourist visas and settled in Utah.

"America became my home," she said.

One day when Cueva was seven, her mother collapsed at work due to complications from a tumor. "She would tell me how the nurses at the hospital helped her through a difficult time."

That helped Cueva to decide that she wanted to become a nurse one day.

In 2012, she received her DACA status, opening the door for her to enroll in nursing school. She graduated from Utah Valley University’s nursing program with honors in 2016 and started working at the hospital last year.

But now she’s worried her nursing career may be short-lived. Cueva’s DACA status expires in October. "I will be let go if there is no solution for us Dreamers," she said.

Her coworkers have mixed feelings about her situation, she said. Some are supportive. Others have told her she has to face the consequences of coming into the country illegally.

"I’ve worked so hard for my accomplishments and my skills as an ICU nurse. I can’t give all that up and go away," said Cueva. "This is my life. If there was any way I could have applied to be a legal resident or citizen of the United States, I would have done it in a heartbeat."


Jose Tapia-Garcia, 27

Jose Tapia-Garcia is helping to put out fires and respond to medical emergencies in three different communities in Washington state.

In the town of Quincy, he is an emergency medical technician with private ambulance company, Protection-1, where he works 12-to-24 hour shift per week.

The 27-year-old is also a resident firefighter/EMT with the City of Ephrata Fire Department, where he does weekly night shifts. And he has been volunteering (one weekend a month) for the Grant County Fire District 8 in Mattawa since 2015. That’s where he first got basic firefighter training and EMT classes.

"I hardly have any free time for myself because I keep myself pretty busy with these three agencies," he said.

But Tapia-Garcia wouldn’t have it any other way.

He is proud of the role he serves in these communities. "As an EMT, we are first responders to accident scenes. I’ve delivered chest compressions and given oxygen to individuals who had difficulty breathing," he said. "I’ve also extricated people from crash sites."

Tapia-Garcia, who arrived in the United States with his parents from Chiautla, Mexico, when he was 3 years old, gained his DACA status in 2014. If DACA dies with no permanent alternative, he won’t be allowed to keep working once his status expires in two years.

"My hopes and dreams will stop," he said. "This is what I want to do. It’s my calling."


Ivonne Orozco, 26

For some of her high school students, Ivonne Orozco’s DACA status has turned into a timely and personal lesson on immigration.

"My students are aware of my story and they’re asking questions," said Orozco, who has taught Spanish at the Public Academy for Performing Arts, a charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the past four years. "It’s great to see my students educating themselves, looking up what DACA means and becoming aware of the issue," she said.

Orozco was 12 when she left Chihuahua, Mexico, and arrived in the United States with her parents. They settled in a small town in New Mexico,where she initially struggled to learn English. She credits her teachers for helping her assimilate and become fluent in her second language. "It’s when I first noticed the power teachers have in helping you see yourself in a different light," said Orozco.

She attended the University of New Mexico and received a degree in secondary education with a concentration in Spanish. "Having learned English late in life, it allowed me to be conscious of what that process is like. I felt it was my strength to teach a second language," she said.

She wants her perspective as a woman of color in education to inspire her students. "We often have conversations in class about what success looks like," she said. "For many, I am the first Spanish-speaking person they know who has gone to college. So they look to me for answers they maybe can’t get at home."

After initially being skeptical of the DACA program, Orozco gained her DACA status in 2013. Her status is set to expire early next year.

Orozco said she hasn’t discussed with school administration what will happen to her job if DACA permanently ends. "I am hopeful that Congress will come through for Dreamers," she said.

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Feeling Zen? This New Mexico Retreat Comes With a Chanting Room

About an hour outside both Albuquerque and Los Alamos sits an adobe estate uniquely designed to inspire a spiritual experience. The home, built on 10 acres in Jemez Springs, NM, is now on the market for $925,000.

The 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was built in 2000 by architect David Yarborough, according to listing agent David Cordova. Buddhist monks from the local Bodhi Mandala Zen Center provided Yarborough with assistance.

The home, which includes a separate studio and Buddhist-inspired chant room, was used by the owners as a spiritual retreat for groups. We confirmed that this is the only home in the entire country to featuring a room devoted to chanting.

Chanting room
Gathering room

The layout of the home, along with its water fountains and fireplaces, were designed with “peace, balance and harmony in mind,” the listing notes.

The estate comes with perennial gardens featuring flowers and herbs, pistachio trees, peach trees, goji berry bushes, sea buckthorn shrubs, and a fish pond. And while the home is connected to the grid, its primary energy source is solar.

Fish pond

The surrounding area features hot springs and waterfalls, making it a great location for hiking.

“You can walk the hills around the house and find pottery shards dating back thousands of years,” Cordova says. The home’s remote location makes it ideal for communing with nature.

As you approach, the residence seems to appear out of thin air, he explains.


In Jemez Springs you can experience Native American, Hispanic, and modern American culture. This home and its picturesque 10 acres in the high desert offer a spiritual setting to quiet the mind and connect with a higher power. All you need is a comfortable sitting position and the right chant. The house does the rest.

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Blast of winter weather forecast for northern New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Forecasters say the weekend will bring wintry weather conditions to northern New Mexico.

The National Weather Service says rain and mountain snow showers will dip below the Colorado line Saturday afternoon and the snow level will drop to valley bottoms by Saturday night.

Forecasts call for about 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow on Raton Pass, up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in mountains east of Albuquerque and west of Las Vegas and up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) at Angel Fire and Red River.

Travel conditions are expected to be satisfactory in most areas but Raton Pass late Saturday is expected to have a major impact from the cold front crossing the state.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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A record setting year for New Mexico’s housing market

(Photo: Dianne Stallings/Ruidoso News)

Officials with the Realtors Association of New Mexico said 2017 was another record setting year for the state’s housing market.

A total of 22,221 sales were reported to the Realtors Association during 2017. That is more than an 11 percent increase over the reported 19,933 sales for 2016, and is the highest number of reported sales since RANM started compiling statistics in 2008. The data includes figures from the Ruidoso/Lincoln County Association of Realtors.

The reported 2017 median price of $190,000 also is higher than the medians reported since 2008. Median price indicates half the properties sold for more and half sold for less.

In 2008, the number of sales reported was 14,625 with a median price of $186,000; in 2009, the number of sales was 13,900 for a median price of $175,900; in 2010, sales were 13,439 and a median of $174,790; in 2011, sales hit 13,302 with a median of $166,500; in 2012, sales jumped to 15,182 but the median stayed level at $167,000; in 2013, sales were 16,708 with a median of $167,000; in 2014, sales were 16,966 with a median of $175,000; in 2015, sales increased to 18,733 and the median rose to $179,900; in 2016, sales went up again to 19,933 and the median jumped to $185,00; followed by 2017, with sales at 22,221 and a median of $190,000.

“The majority of New Mexico counties saw an increase in sales during 2017,” Connie Hettinga, 2018 RANM President said. “Bernalillo, Eddy, Dona Ana, San Juan, Santa Fe, and Valencia counties showed the biggest gains in sales numbers. Of course, all real estate is local, so while the majority of New Mexico counties reported growth during 2017, we have a number of counties with 2017 numbers lower than those reported in 2016.”

According to M. Steven Anaya, RANM CEO, “REALTORS are still dissecting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to decipher what it means for homeowners. As a result of the changes made throughout the legislative process, NAR is projecting slower growth in home prices of 1 percent to 3 percent in 2018, as low inventories continue to spur price gains. Some local markets, particularly in high cost, higher tax areas, will likely see price declines as a result of the legislation’s new restrictions on mortgage interest and state and local taxes.”

The trends and numbers reported are only a snapshot of market activity. Local Realtors are the best source for individual markets.

Deena Turner, associate executive with the Ruidoso/Lincoln County Association of Realtors, released data for the local area.

A total of 687 residential sales occurred in Lincoln County for 2017, representing an increase of 9.3 percent over 2016, she said. The 2017 median price was $190,000, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2016.

For comparison, in 2012, sales hit 503 homes with a median price of $185,000; in 2013, sales were 529 with a median price of $181,000; in 2014, sales were 562 with the median price spiking to $199,500; in 2015, sales were 587 and a median price of $185,000; and in 2016, sales were 626 with a median price of $185,000

Statistical information and trends are based on data furnished by New Mexico Member Boards and Multiple Listing Services to the National Association of REALTORS. Current reporting participants are: Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS; Las Cruces Association of REALTORS MLIS; New Mexico Multi-Board MLS for Artesia, Carlsbad, Clovis/Portales, Deming, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Vegas, Sierra County areas; Otero County Board of REALTORS; Roswell Association of REALTORS; Ruidoso/Lincoln County Association of REALTORS; Santa Fe Association of REALTORS; San Juan County Board of REALTORS; Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS, and the Taos County Association of REALTORS.

Reports represent single family residential data only. Information does not necessarily represent all activity in any market/county. Figures based on reports run Jan. 10, 2018. Visit (housing trends) for county statistics.

The REALTORS Association of New Mexico is one of the state’s largest trade associations, representing more than 6,000 members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate market.

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Super Bowl LII ads cost $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime – Albuquerque Business First

Between watching the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots clash for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 52 — the biggest prize in all of sports — and guzzling down more than the recommended dietary intake of Bud Light without any judgment, a number of watch party participants will not be tuning out the commercial breaks between the action.

The Super Bowl, which draws eyeballs from pigskin fanatics, casual viewers and those who just want to hang out with friends, allows for opportunities for advertising agencies to showcase their funniest, most heart-warming, or most peculiar 30 seconds highlighting their product. There were more than 111 million people who tuned for the Patriots comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in last year’s Super Bowl and over $500 million is projected to be spent on advertising for Sunday’s showdown.

Albuquerque-based advertising agency Esparza will not have a commercial during the Super Bowl 52 showcase, but spoke to what’s to come and the process of turning a pitch into a big-time audience viewership. A successful commercial must be relevant to the viewer, hit the target audience, and must showcase the benefits, according to Eve Wakeland, Esparza’s director of accounts. Esparza monitors social media to gauge what people are talking about.

"I believe that really the best work is something that’s researched and looked at from all aspects," Wakeland said. "Getting any foundational information (companies) already have, whether it’s about their consumers or the platform that they’re looking on … from there, it’s always a collaborative process between the agency and the client."

Two-thirds of Business First’s readers will be watching, according to the recent Business Pulse survey, with 9 percent of having a heightened focus on the show after Justin Timberlake makes his return to the center stage with his first halftime performance since the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" moment with Janet Jackson.

The commercials have to resonate, since it will cost $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the game on NBC, according to an article from Sports Illustrated. For some companies, $5 million is a cost where they can afford to take chances. For others, it’s a Hail Mary because a lot more rides on how well the 30 seconds are maximized. A successful display could have those companies basking in glory, much like a scoring the game-winning touchdown or gamblers correctly betting the over/under on the length of Pink’s national anthem.

"E-Trade, GoDaddy, those are companies who, when they first bought Super Bowl commercials, were small companies … and they took a chance and it worked," Wakeland said. "There definitely have been others who have failed."

After a number of ads from last year’s Super Bowl had political undertones and the National Football League getting criticized by President Donald Trump during the regular season for not forcing players to stand for the national anthem, Wakeland predicts there will be a different spirit this year.

"Most of them are going to be focused on having a little bit of fun, talking about their philanthropic side, there’s some focus on [artificial intelligence]," she said. "It seems to be a lot of (commercials) about entertainment and making people feel good."

New Mexico’s Largest Advertising Firms

Ranked by 2016 advertising billings

Rank Business name 2016 advertising billings 1 Kilmer Kilmer Marshall Duran (K2MD) $8.4 million 2 3 Advertising $4.89 million 3 Edit House Productions LLC / Ad House Advertising $2.77 million View This List

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