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Transcript: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on "Face the Nation," June 23, 2024

New Mexico governor on abortion two years after Dobbs
New Mexico governor says more abortions two years after Dobbs because "more women are at risk" 06:48

The following is a transcript of an interview with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, on "Face the Nation" that aired on June 23, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we turn now to New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. She joins us this morning from Santa Fe. Good morning to you, Governor.

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM: Good morning, Margaret. Thank you for having me on this morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know President Biden did issue that emergency declaration for your state due to the fires, but you also had a 200 mile long dust storm, catastrophic flooding, what problems are most acute and what do you need?

GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, we want to continue to- an open door for federal resources. FEMA is incredible on the ground. In an emergency, they bring personnel, and they opened the door for federal direct monetary assistance to the state and more importantly, the individuals. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell was on the ground, actually in Ruidoso yesterday. And I have to say, the Biden administration has really pushed through these emergency declarations quickly so that we can get families back on their feet. But it's been a hell of a week here, Margaret, between dust, heat, flooding, these are not the only evacuations. We've got flooding evacuations in the north, where the largest wildfire in the history of the United States, one of the largest wildfires in the history of the U.S., it's been really tough on New Mexicans. And I'm- I'm grateful to every first responder who puts them first and stands up to make sure they're as safe as we can make them. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And I know all of us wish you your state residents well as they deal with all of that. You are a border state, I wonder if all of this excessive heat is affecting the migrants crossing in from Mexico?

GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: So we haven't seen the kind of surges outside of the ports of entry that folks in other states have seen. Now, that's not to indicate at all that that doesn't still have some risk. But we haven't seen heat related issues for asylum seekers, certainly not in this first six months. But your point is very valid. There have, in fact, been multiple deaths along the New Mexico border years past, and particularly Texas, and California borders from extreme heat. But right now, we're focused on the security aspects announced by the Biden administration, which are very important for states like New Mexico to have more folks at ports of entry, where risks are present every day to really focus on human trafficking, drugs, guns and other contraband. And I really appreciate the President's investment in more border security where it matters. But

MARGARET BRENNAN: It sounds like you could even use more than that. I know you were here in Washington with the president when he signed that executive order that restricted the ability to claim asylum for those crossing in between ports of entry. You know, some of your fellow Democrats were very critical of that, saying it undermines American values. Why are they wrong?

GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, they're not wrong. I mean, frankly, the President then did a- a balanced approach, when he's creating protections and work opportunities for undocumented families, part of a legal right, a US citizen is married to someone who's undocumented, or as other extended family members and DACA recipients and dreamers can now get protections. Here's what I think he did–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that was a new measure this past week. 


GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: –He focused on- oh, the new measure. So look the security- I need security first and foremost, you can't protect everybody else. And make no mistake, New Mexico, just like everywhere else around the country suffers from the number of drugs, guns, and related nefarious issues that are exacerbated by not having people in the right places at the border. I also appreciate that he did something about all these other families. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah right. But but that's a different issue. For those folks who've been living here for a decade and married to an American. That was that effort the President signed off on this past week, when it comes to the executive order, the ACLU is trying to-to sue the Biden administration saying that this was legally identical to the Trump ban that they blocked back in 2019. Does that bother you? 

GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: I don't- well, it bothers me that that's the point of view that they're taking, and certainly understand that we're going to do any number of challenges and litigation. But here's the issue. We're not separating families. We're making it really clear you can come through a port of entry. I have a president that unlike Congress, including when I was in Congress, it is willing to focus on security, fairness, whether that's in one or two different decisions, and creating, I hope, a pathway for Congress to stop listening to a candidate who continues to try to score political points, instead of solve problems for states like mine, and American families, he's doing both.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have been a very vocal access- advocate, I should say, for Reproductive Health Access. This week marks two years since Roe vs. Wade was struck down. And yet, in 2023, America had the highest abortion number and abortion rate in over a decade. Why do you think there are more abortions happening at a time when there is decreased access?

GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, I think there are more abortions happening because more women are at risk, which means they can't get into a provider, they can't get prenatal care. You've got providers who are worried about prosecutions and any number of other issues that interfere with their ability to provide care, less access to contraceptives, less information about public health, less ability to get to your primary care physician. Most families and women live eighty-six miles from a provider- you create a draconian situation; you're going to increase risk at every single place. And this is a state that's clear about protecting women and creating equality, but that's what I believe is the genesis of this situation.

MARGARET BRENNAN : All right, Governor, good luck as you deal with all those emergencies in your state. We'll be tracking them. Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.

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