LAS VEGAS, N.M. — As rushing flames neared the remote mountains where his family has lived for generations, Miguel Martinez knew he had to move fast and flee with only the clothes on his back.
“I left behind 25 goats, 50 rabbits, 10 chickens and two dogs,” said Mr. Martinez, 71, who escaped his home in the village of El Oro this week for an evacuee shelter. “I have no idea if my house is standing or if my animals are alive. I need to prepare for the possibility everything was wiped out.”
More than a dozen wildfires are raging this month across the Southwest, as fire season stretches earlier than ever into spring. But the country’s largest active blaze, a megafire that has ballooned across more than 165,000 acres in northern New Mexico, has evolved with such ferocity that it threatens a multigenerational culture that has endured for centuries.
Like Mr. Martinez, many who have fled the megafire, known as the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire, are descendants of Hispanic settlers who arrived in New Mexico long before the United States came into existence. They intermarried with Native Americans, honed ways to grow crops in parched lands and preserved an archaically influenced form of Spanish that can still be heard in the aisles of the local Walmart.
1,200 years, marked by intense and unwieldy fire activity, is something new.
ranks as the second largest on record in New Mexico, eclipsing the acreage lost to fires in the entire state in 2021. While no lives have been lost, the fire has destroyed at least 172 homes, forced many families to evacuate and remains just 20 percent contained. As dry weather persists, authorities warn that the fire could expand in various directions in the coming days.
approved a disaster declaration for five counties. The state’s blazes include the Cooks Peak fire, which has grown to 59,000 acres in Mora County, and the Cerro Pelado fire, a 29,000-acre blaze within 5.5 miles of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which helps to design and maintain the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
As flames from the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire could be seen on ridges from Las Vegas in recent days, officials evacuated the nearby United World College, a boarding school founded by the industrialist Armand Hammer, and emptied out the county jail, releasing some inmates and transferring others.
the state’s 700 or so acequias, or irrigation ditches, said she attributed her community’s persistence to “pure grit.”
term she defined as “a cultural longing, a pull, that keeps us there.”
19th-century Hispanic vigilante nightriders who had targeted Anglo land squatters after the United States took control of New Mexico.
Relations between ethnic groups have evolved since then. But unlike other parts of the United States where Hispanics are viewed as newcomers and Anglos seek to defend their culture from demographic shifts, in northern New Mexico the roles are often reversed.
“We bought our land back in 1993, but we’re still considered outsiders compared to many of our neighbors,” said Sonya Berg, 79, a retired teacher from Texas whose home in Rociada, a town of several hundred people, was destroyed by the fire.
Still, Ms. Berg said she understood why some families remained in the area for generations, explaining that their land had been so important to her husband, who died in 2019, that his gravesite is on their fire-scorched property.
“I’m sure we’ll rebuild,” she said.
Given the fire’s erratic behavior, it is not clear when evacuees will be allowed back. Wendy Mason, a New Mexico wildfire prevention official, said it was the first time, at least in recent memory, that so many large fires were raging at once in the state. Ms. Mason also cautioned that more fires could start in the coming weeks.
“We usually don’t expect much moisture until the monsoons arrive, and that’s generally not until July or August,” Ms. Mason said. Even if some rain falls, as it did in parts of the state over the weekend, it could be accompanied by lightning strikes that ignite other blazes, she warned.
“Our climate is changing, making the fire season a lot longer and more intense,” Ms. Mason said.
Still, Mr. Martinez, the state historian, emphasized that such challenges were part of the region’s history. Mora was burned to the ground, he noted, by invading American forces in 1847 during the Mexican-American War. After that episode, the community picked up the pieces and started again.
“This isn’t the first fire our families have dealt with,” he said.
LOS ANGELES — Deaths from Covid. Aging baby boomers. Fewer children. Restrictions on immigration.
These factors, not to mention the soaring cost of living, are forcing California — long associated in the public imagination as a destination and place of growth — to confront the fact that it is a shrinking state.
For the second time in two years, the California Department of Finance has reported a drop in the state’s population.
California lost 117,552 residents last year, driven largely by the Covid death toll and a sharp drop in foreign immigration. This followed a slightly bigger decline in 2020, when the state lost 182,083 residents — the first time in more than a century that California got smaller.
Officials recorded about 275,000 people leaving California last year, up from about 180,000 in the years before the pandemic. That decline is typically offset by the arrival of immigrants from abroad, but last year that figure plummeted. Before the pandemic, the average annual influx of immigrants was 140,000 people; last year the figure dropped to 43,300.
the state losing a congressional seat for the first time in its 170-year history.
He was 90.
Gas tax: The price of gas in California will rise by three cents on July 1, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Unusual hepatitis cases: At least 10 states, including California, have either identified or are investigating reports of unusual hepatitis cases in otherwise healthy children.
Transgender youth refuge: Democratic lawmakers in more than a dozen states are modeling legal refuge for displaced transgender youth after the bill proposed by State Senator Scott Wiener, The Associated Press reports.
Homelessness crisis: Can California solve homelessness by simply building more places to live? Read more from the Times opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang.
Thinning forest: A federal plan to thin the forest on Pine Mountain has brought lawsuits from the Patagonia clothing company as well as cities and environmental groups, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Sacramento shooting: Prosecutors have filed murder charges for three people involved in April’s mass shooting in the state capital, The Associated Press reports.
What you get
For $5 million: A Spanish-style house in Santa Monica, a 1925 Tudor Revival home in Ojai and a Craftsman-inspired bungalow in Los Gatos.
Anza-Borrego desert at California’s southern end:
“It is a free campground with abundant hiking nearby. A wonderful short hike leads up to this spot overlooking the town of Borrego and the Salton Sea. A few miles down the Montezuma grade is the Maidenhair Falls hike, which is difficult but worth it. Perhaps best of all — no data reception!”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
For the first time in more than a century, the endangered California condor soared the skies over the state’s redwood forests along the far northern coast.
Two captive-bred male condors were released from a pen in Redwood National Park on Tuesday, under a project aimed at restoring the giant vultures to their historic habitat in the Pacific Northwest.
ATLANTA — As the criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump by Manhattan prosecutors appears to be stalling out, the separate investigation into whether the former president and his allies illegally interfered with Georgia’s 2020 election results took a significant step forward on Monday, as 23 people were chosen to serve on a special investigative grand jury.
The panel will focus exclusively on “whether there were unlawful attempts to disrupt the administration of the 2020 elections here in Georgia,” Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court told 200 potential jurors who had been called to a downtown Atlanta courthouse swarming with law enforcement agents.
The ability of the special grand jury to subpoena witnesses and documents will help prosecutors, who have encountered resistance from some potential witnesses who have declined to testify voluntarily. The panel will have up to a year to issue a report advising District Attorney Fani T. Willis on whether to pursue criminal charges.
Some legal experts have said the inquiry could be perilous for Mr. Trump, who, in a January 2021 phone call, askedGeorgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to put Mr. Trump ahead of his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., in Georgia’s presidential election tally.
an apparent standstill. Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is said to be concerned about the strength of the New York case, which focuses on whether Mr. Trump exaggerated the value of assets in annual financial statements. People close to the investigation have told The New York Times that the inquiry may lose steam if other witnesses do not step up to cooperate.
In the Georgia case, a group of legal experts, in an analysis published last year by the Brookings Institution, wrote that the call to Mr. Raffensperger, and other postelection moves by Mr. Trump, put the former president at “substantial risk” of criminal charges in Georgia, including racketeering, election fraud solicitation, intentional interference with performance of election duties and conspiracy to commit election fraud.
The investigation is also likely to look at Trump allies who inserted themselves into election administration matters in Georgia, including Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani; Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff. The investigation is within the purview of the Fulton County district attorney because many of the actions in question took place in or involved phone calls to officials in Fulton County, which includes the State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta and numerous government offices.
In addition to the call with Mr. Raffensperger, Mr. Trump has publicly described how he called Gov. Brian Kemp after the election and asked him to call a special election to “get to the bottom” of “a big election-integrity problem in Georgia.” Mr. Trump also called Chris Carr, the state attorney general, asking him not to oppose a lawsuit challenging the election results in Georgia and other states, and Mr. Raffensperger’s chief investigator, asking her to find “dishonesty” in the election.
civil and criminal investigations across the country into his business dealings and political activities. Here is a look at the notable inquiries:
Westchester County criminal investigation. The district attorney’s office in Westchester County, N.Y., appears to be focused at least in part on whether the Trump Organization misled local officials about the value of a golf course, Trump National Golf Club Westchester, to reduce its taxes.
In addition to an investigation in Manhattan, the New York attorney general, Letitia James, is poised to bring a civil action in her investigation of fraudulent and misleading business practices by the Trump Organization, her staff has said in court. A judge recently held Mr. Trump in contempt in that case for failing to fully comply with a subpoena and began fining him $10,000 a day.
The district attorney’s office in Westchester County is looking into financial matters related to a golf course Mr. Trump’s company owns. And a federal grand jury has been empaneled to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.
interview last month with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ms. Willis said she would wait until after Georgia’s May 24 primary election to bring witnesses to testify before the special grand jury in an effort to avoid the appearance of her seeking to influence state politics.
tele-rally” on Monday evening for Mr. Kemp’s opponent, former Senator David Perdue, who has falsely claimed that Mr. Kemp allowed “radical Democrats to steal our election.”
Security at the downtown courthouse on Monday was tight, with streets around the court complex closed to traffic, and a heavy law enforcement presence inside and outside the buildings.
In January, Ms. Willis wrote to the F.B.I. that her office had received communications from “persons unhappy with our commitment to fulfill our duties,” and asked the F.B.I. to provide “intelligence and federal agents” for the courthouse. Ms. Willis said the security concerns had been “escalated” by comments Mr. Trump made at an event in Texas in which he called the prosecutors focusing on him “vicious, horrible people” who were “racist” and “mentally sick” and unfairly targeting him.
Ms. Willis noted that Mr. Trump called for large protests in Atlanta and elsewhere if prosecutors illegally pursued him.
A new billboard in East New York shows a pedestrian thrown into the air after bouncing off the front of a car, as his coffee splashes everywhere. “Speeding ruins lives,” it says. “Slow down.”
The goal of the campaign is to scare speeding drivers in this Brooklyn neighborhood, where 35 people have been killed in traffic crashes since 2017.
It is part of New York City’s latest effort to battle rampant speeding, which has turned neighborhood streets into raceways and propelled traffic deaths to the highest level in eight years.
pandemic boom in cycling and electric bikes, scooters and skateboards.
Just over one-quarter of the 64 deaths this year were on highways — including three deaths each on Henry Hudson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway — while the rest were on local streets throughout the city.
The traffic deaths have reversed some of the hard-won gains of the city’s eight-year-old transportation policy, called Vision Zero, which once aimed to eliminate all traffic deaths and had become a national model. Under the policy, the city won state approval to lower the speed limit to 25 m.p.h. from 30 m.p.h. on most streets, built a sprawling network of nearly 2,000 automated speed cameras, and redesigned many streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Mayor Eric Adams, who took office in January, has promised to expand on Vision Zero efforts. He recently pledged $904 million to the city’s streets plan over the next five years, which will include redesigning dangerous intersections and adding more protected bike lanes and pedestrian areas. He has said police officials will also increase enforcement of traffic laws.
epidemic of speeding and reckless driving around the country during the pandemic in part as some drivers have become emboldened by emptier roads and lax police enforcement, according to transportation experts. New York City has also seen a rise in car ownership as many people have avoided public transit.
Even before the pandemic, a growing number of cities sought to lower speed limits and design safer roads over concerns that higher speeds and larger vehicles like S.U.V.s led to more severe injuries and fatalities.
“The risk of death exponentially increases as speed increases,” said Alex Engel, a spokesman for the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “This is especially important as the vehicles on the streets have gotten larger.”
television ads showing a pedestrian or cyclist being thrown backward in slow motion. And it will target drivers on social media, based on their online searches, and run in certain print publications.
Erick Guerra, an associate professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, said that while media campaigns are important, they do not have the same immediate effect on slowing down drivers as, say, expanding the use of automated speed cameras. “I think it takes a long time to change a culture of driving in the same way it took a long way to change a culture of smoking,” he said.
Some transportation advocates have called on cities to focus more on redesigning dangerous streets, saying that it is not enough to come into a neighborhood and tell drivers not to speed when its streets were essentially built to move traffic as fast as possible.
“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Leah Shahum, the executive director of the Vision Zero Network, a non-profit campaign. “Why is there speeding here? It’s because of the environment we built.”
In East New York, the billboard there will be seen by drivers going through a particularly dangerous intersection at Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues, where 167 people — including 154 motor vehicle occupants — were injured in crashes from 2015 to 2019, according to the latest data available.
Laura Remigio, 35, a makeup artist and stylist who said she was almost hit by a car while visiting a client in East New York, said that drivers go too fast and have cut her off in the crosswalk. “It’s supposed to be people first and the cars wait — and they don’t wait,” she said. “I’m running because the cars don’t stop.”
But Ian Johnson, 67, a driver from New Jersey, said that some pedestrians also need to pay more attention. He said he often has to honk at people who don’t look as they cross or are on their phones “when they almost walk into my vehicle.”
Mr. Candelario, whose auto repair shop is steps away from the billboard, said he hoped the billboard would finally get the attention of drivers.
“It’s an eye opener and it makes you think,” he said. “You’ve got to be hard. You’ve got to put a little fear in it.”
SANTA FE, N.M. — High winds in northern New Mexico on Sunday once again posed a stiff challenge to crews battling a large wildfire that grew significantly over the weekend.
The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire east of Santa Fe, which began as two fires before merging a week ago, had burned almost 104,000 acres, or more than 160 square miles, by Sunday, up from about 75,000 acres on Friday. It was 30 percent contained, fire officials said, with smoke from that fire and another — the Cerro Pelado fire in Jemez Springs, roughly 40 miles west of Santa Fe — permeating much of the northern part of the state.
More than 1,000 firefighters have worked to contain the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon blaze. The spread of the fire from Friday into Saturday exceeded predictions, officials said in public briefings. Wind speeds exceeded 65 miles per hour at times, according to Mike Johnson, a fire information officer. On Sunday, wind gusts of up to 45 m.p.h. were expected, and “extreme fire behavior” was possible over the next two days, according to InciWeb, a government website that tracks wildfires.
No deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire. The state police reported the deaths of two people in April from another wildfire.
Carl Schwope, the commander of a team for the region that combines firefighting resources from federal, state, local and other agencies, said on Saturday that the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire “could easily double in size” before being contained.
“We’re still in a very dangerous fire situation. It’s going to continue,” he said, adding that winds were not letting up. “There’s nothing in the weather that looks like it’s going to change. High wind events, north wind events, south wind events. It’s all over the board.”
Mr. Schwope also urged residents to be on alert for more evacuation announcements. According to Mr. Johnson, about 6,000 people from 32 communities in the vicinity of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, some in rural mountain areas, were already under orders to leave.
Monica Aragon left her house in Ledoux, a small community northeast of Santa Fe, on April 22 and has returned just once. She and her two children have been staying with her parents in Chimayo, about 60 miles from her home.
On Friday, she said, she received a call from a volunteer firefighter describing the situation. He said he did not want her to panic, but that the fire had reached the road in front of her house. Firefighters were “keeping it away from your home,” she recalled him saying.
Because of the ongoing danger, county officials have been unable to provide a full accounting of how many structures have been destroyed or damaged. But Joy Ansley, the county manager for San Miguel County, said that before the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire expanded on Friday, it had destroyed 200 structures.
Roger Montoya, a New Mexico state representative whose district includes three counties currently being affected by fires, spent time last week with a team delivering food and other supplies to residents who had not yet left. Some were without electricity, he said.
“There’s a reluctance for individuals to leave their homes,” he said.
Samuel Coca, the general manager of a bar in the Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, N.M., said he had three vehicles packed with belongings in case he and his family needed to leave.
As the fire grew Friday, along with the number of people leaving their homes, his bar began providing free buffet dinners for firefighters and evacuees. Many people left home with the clothes they were wearing and not much else, he added.
“The first dozen people I spoke with lost everything,” Mr. Coca said. “They lost their houses, their ranches, some livestock. It was hard to get through the afternoon without crying.”
The Kentucky senator Rand Paul promised on Saturday to wage a vigorous review into the origins of the coronavirus if Republicans retake the Senate and he lands a committee chairmanship.
Speaking to supporters at a campaign rally, the senator denounced what he sees as government overreach in response to Covid-19. He applauded a recent judge’s order that voided the federal mask mandate on planes and trains and in travel hubs.
“Last week I was on an airplane for the first time in two years and didn’t have to wear a mask,” he said, drawing cheers. “And you know what I saw in the airport? I saw at least 97% of the other free individuals not wearing masks.”
Paul has clashed repeatedly with Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, over government policies and the origins of the virus.
Paul, who is seeking a third term, said he was in line to assume a committee chairmanship if the GOP wins Senate control. The Senate has a 50-50 split, with the vice-president, Kamala Harris, the tie-breaking vote.
“When we take over in November, I will be chairman of a committee and I will have subpoena power,” Paul said. “And we will get to the bottom of where this virus came from.”
The senator, an ophthalmologist before politics, continued to offer his theory about the origins of the virus.
“If you look at the evidence, overwhelmingly, not 100%, but overwhelmingly the evidence points to this virus being a leak from a lab,” Paul said.
Many US conservatives have accused Chinese scientists of developing Covid-19 in a lab and allowing it to leak.
US intelligence agencies remain divided on the origins of the coronavirus but believe China did not know about the virus before the start of the global pandemic, according a Biden-ordered review released last summer.
The scientific consensus remains that the virus most likely migrated from animals. So-called “spillover events” occur in nature and there are at least two coronaviruses that evolved in bats and caused human epidemics, SARS1 and MERS.
At the Kentucky rally, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, the state’s senior senator, also pointed to Paul’s opportunity to lead a committee. If that occurs, he said, Paul would become chairman of “one of the most important committees in the Senate – in charge of health, education, labor and pensions”.
McConnell was upbeat about Republican prospects in November.
“I’ve never seen a better environment for us than this year,” said McConnell, who is in line to again become majority leader.
The rally featured other prominent Kentucky Republicans, including several considering running for governor in 2023, when Andy Beshear, a Democrat, will seek a second term.
In his speech, Paul railed against socialism, saying it would encroach on individual liberties. The senator was first elected to the Senate in the Tea Party wave of 2010.
“When President Trump said he wanted to ‘Make America Great Again’, I said, ‘Amen,’” Paul said. “But let’s understand what made America great in the first place, and that’s freedom, constitutionally guaranteed liberty.”
Charles Booker is by far the best known Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for Paul’s seat in the 17 May primary. Paul is being challenged by several little-known candidates. A general election campaign between Paul and Booker would be a battle between candidates with starkly different philosophies.
Booker, a Black former state lawmaker, narrowly lost a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2020. He is a progressive who touts Medicare for all, anti-poverty programs, a clean-energy agenda and criminal justice changes.
Paul, a former presidential candidate, has accumulated a massive fundraising advantage.
Kentucky has not elected a Democrat to the US Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992.
EAGLE PASS, Texas — From a camouflage Humvee at the edge of the Rio Grande, a Texas National Guard soldier on the front lines of Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign to secure America’s southern border was watching a man with a crutch crossing the river from Mexico.
“Señor! Are you there?” the soldier called out as the man disappeared into a thicket of towering reeds. No one answered.
Downriver, four other soldiers stood by as a U.S. Border Patrol team detained dozens of newly arrived migrants in a pecan orchard. An agent with a crowd counter recorded 135 people, mostly men but also families from Cuba, Peru and Venezuela who were seeking asylum in the United States.
“This is it, every day,” said Hal Bowles, a Maverick County deputy constable who has been hired with new state funding to work on border security. “The governor is trying,” he said, but still, “everybody is coming in.”
disrupting international trade. He has overseen construction of 20 miles of new border fencing, repurposed certain state prisons to hold migrants charged with trespassing, poured money into border towns for law enforcement and paid for buses to take willing migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C.
Read More About U.S. Immigration
The Biden administration has been dismissive of Mr. Abbott’s actions on the border, at times calling them a “political stunt,” and has not taken steps to intervene, despite calls from Texas Democrats to do so. Any attempt by Texas to enforce federal immigration laws would almost certainly end up in court.
Even as Mr. Abbott has directed more than $3 billion to border security, and approved an additional $500 million on Friday, he has little to show for it beyond drug seizures and arrest figures. The overlapping state actions have not held back the rush of arrivals.
Federal agents recorded nearly 129,000 crossings into Texas in March, about 11,000 more than during the same month last year, when Mr. Abbott began the effort known as Operation Lone Star. The biggest increase occurred in an area of the border that includes Eagle Pass, a sun-faded city of 28,000 people, numerous stray cats and dogs and few resources to spare.
Costs have been mounting. Just maintaining the National Guard deployment through the summer will require another $531 million, state officials said this month. A 22-year-old soldier assigned to the mission drowned last week while attempting to rescue two migrants in swift water.
And now officials in Texas are bracing for an even larger influx of migrants, who are expected to come when the Biden administration ends a pandemic policy of turning back many asylum seekers under the public health rule known as Title 42.
recent negotiations with leaders of Mexican border states that have resulted in promises of more aggressive policing on the Mexican side. The nonbinding agreements came after safety inspections ordered by Mr. Abbott snarled truck traffic for days, causing by some estimates as much as $4 billion in economic damage to Texas.
but told Congress on Wednesday that despite inheriting “a broken and dismantled system,” the administration had “effectively managed an unprecedented number of noncitizens seeking to enter the United States.”
According to Glenn Hegar, the Texas state comptroller, the increase in state police has helped ranch owners, who have complained of property damage from migrants. The police discouraged passing migrants from ransacking his ranch house near Eagle Pass when he was not there, as they did last year.
“Yes there’s still people,” he said. “But I feel as though people are passing through quicker and leaving less trash on the ground.”
Clusters of unauthorized migrants can still be seen wandering around town. Some find shelter in unoccupied homes.
Earlier this year, the town’s mayor, Rolando Salinas Jr., said he came upon a Nicaraguan couple and two children who had been staying in a home he was in the process of remodeling. “What are you doing here? This is my house,” he recalled saying. The man said they were waiting for someone to pick them up. Mr. Salinas called the Border Patrol and the police chief.
“It’s a sad situation,” Mr. Salinas said. “Nobody is saying that these people are criminals, but still you don’t know who they are.”
While some residents complain of an increase in panhandlers, crime has not worsened and those who come do not generally stay, said the city manager, George Antuna. “Most of the folks that come here are going north — D.C., Chicago, New York, Miami,” he said.
But it is the sheer number lately that has been overwhelming. “We’re not equipped for this,” Mr. Antuna said.
It has even strained smuggling networks, said Mr. McCraw, the state police director. “They’re running out of drivers,” he said, pointing to interviews with those charged with smuggling and Spanish-language TikTok videos seeking drivers to shuttle migrants from the border to cities like Houston.
“My view is what we’re succeeding at is securing zones” along the border, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley, where the number of illegal crossings has declined, Mr. McCraw said. “It’s like hot spot policing.”
In Eagle Pass, Border Patrol buses with asylum seekers now arrive in a constant stream at the main respite center, which had to move from its small downtown space to a cavernous, warehouse-like building. The number of migrants seeking services, said Valeria Wheeler, the director of the center, Mission: Border Hope, has ballooned to as many as 500 a day, from about 20 a day two years ago.
Still, many migrants who arrived there this week walked away frustrated at the lack of space. Some said they had to sleep on the concrete floor.
“Where are we all going to fit?” Diego Carmona, 28, wondered after he arrived at the end of a grueling five-month journey from Venezuela with his wife, 8-year-old son and 7-month-old baby.
Mr. Carmona said that as he crossed the river he feared his older son might be swept away. He said he could still hear him screaming, in Spanish, “Daddy, I don’t want to die,” as they traversed the unpredictable current. “It was the worst moment of my life,” he said — but they made it.
It was at a bend in the river, north of downtown, that a National Guard soldier from outside Dallas, Specialist Bishop Evans, had been stationed with a partner when he spotted a man and a woman struggling in the river as they crossed from Mexico. He rushed to help them, jumping several feet off the high banks into the fast-moving water.
Specialist Evans drowned. The two migrants, whom state officials have said were involved in drug trafficking, survived and were taken into Border Patrol custody.
No National Guard members were posted on the high flat ground on a recent overcast day. Below, the river churned near a path littered with discarded clothes and other items from migrants who had recently passed through.
The Oklahoma Legislature approved a bill on Thursday prohibiting abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, a ban that could sharply reduce abortion access not only for women in the state but for those who have been crossing its borders to work around increasingly strict anti-abortion laws across the South.
The bill is modeled on one that took effect in Texas in September. It bans abortion after cardiac fetal activity, generally around six weeks of pregnancy, and requires enforcement by civilians, allowing them to sue any doctor who performs or induces the abortion, or anyone who “aids or abets” one. The bill incentivizes lawsuits by offering rewards of at least $10,000 for those that are successful.
Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, had signed a law this month that outlaws abortion entirely except to save the life of a pregnant woman “in a medical emergency,” and makes the procedure a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
But while that law will not take effect until late August, the bill the Legislature sent to Mr. Stitt’s desk on Thursday would take effect immediately if signed.
The typical patient is most likely already a mother, poor, unmarried, in her late 20s, has some college education and is very early in pregnancy. Teenagers today are having far fewer abortions. Nearly half of abortions happen in the first six weeks of pregnancy, and nearly all in the first trimester.
Where are most abortions performed? According to a 2017 census of abortion providers, the largest state share of abortions were performed in California, at 15.4 percent, followed by New York, with 12.2 percent. The third-highest state was Florida with 8.2 percent.
What will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Abortion would remain legal in more than half of the states, but not in a wide swath of the Midwest and the South. While some women will be able to travel out of state or rely on pills to terminate a pregnancy, many in lower-income groups might not have access.
The new laws fly in the face of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. But they are consistent with a trend in other states because of an expectation that a conservative majority on the court will overturn or significantly scale back the Roe decision by summer.
Roe prohibits states from banning abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb, which is now about 23 weeks of pregnancy. The court is now considering a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and in oral arguments in December a majority of justices signaled they would uphold it.
States were encouraged by the Texas law, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to block. The court said that because state officials were not responsible for enforcing the law, it could not be challenged in federal court based on the constitutional protections established by Roe. In March, the Texas Supreme Court similarly declined to block the law, saying its hands had been tied by the requirement for civilian enforcement.
the Idaho Supreme Court stayed the law after Planned Parenthood sued to stop it, arguing that the law undermined privacy.
On Thursday, a coalition of abortion providers in Oklahoma filed lawsuits against the Texas-style bill that was passed, as well as the earlier ban scheduled to take effect in August.
Ms. Wales, the Planned Parenthood president, said the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision had given the coalition some hope it could block the Oklahoma bill.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Stitt declined to comment on Thursday, writing in an email that his office “does not comment on pending legislation.” But the governor has said before that he will sign any anti-abortion legislation that crosses his desk.
Not long ago, such a shift would have seemed out of the question in a state notorious for its tight election margins and nail-biting recounts. Mr. DeSantis won the governorship by about 32,000 votes in 2018, hardly a mandate. His aloof personality did not exactly sparkle.
Read More on Florida’s Fight With Disney
But beginning in 2020, a politically attuned Mr. DeSantis seized on discontent with coronavirus pandemic policies, betting that economic prosperity and individual liberties would matter more to voters in the long run than protecting public health. More than 73,000 Floridians have died of Covid-19, yet public opinion polls have shown that Mr. DeSantis and many of his policies remain quite popular.
Parents, especially, who cheered the governor’s opposition to Covid-19 restrictions in schools, have remained active on issues of curriculum and culture.
“I think the governor is more popular than Disney — I think the governor is more popular than the former president,” said Anthony Pedicini, a Republican strategist in Tampa. “If you’re running for office as a Republican in Florida and you aren’t toeing the DeSantis mantra, you will not win.”
The question now for Mr. DeSantis — and virtually everyone else in Florida — is whether the rightward lurch will stop, either by court intervention, corporate backlash or, come November, electoral rebuke. But given Florida’s trends in recent years, the more likely outcome could be a sustained campaign toward a new, more rigid conservative orthodoxy, one that voters could very well ratify this fall.
The state’s swift and unexpected rightward tilt has happened as Florida has swelled with new residents. Between July 2020 and July 2021, about 260,000 more people arrived than left, a net migration higher than any other state. The trend began before the pandemic but appeared to accelerate as remote workers sought warm weather, low taxes and few public health restrictions.
Culturally, Floridians have been less conservative than their leaders. They have voted by large margins to legalize medical marijuana, prohibit gerrymandering and restore felons’ voting rights. (Last year, Republican lawmakers passed limits on the use of such citizen-led ballot initiatives.) So the recent rash of legislation has been met with trepidation in the state’s big cities, which are almost all run by Democrats.
The Minneapolis Police Department routinely engages in multiple forms of racially discriminatory policing, fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct and has used fake social media accounts to target Black people and organizations, according to a damning investigation released on Wednesday by the state’s Department of Human Rights.
The department has a “culture that is averse to oversight and accountability,” and city and department leaders have failed to act with “the necessary urgency, coordination, and intentionality required” to correct its problems, the investigation concluded.
The Minneapolis police have been under intense scrutiny since cellphone cameras captured the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a police officer during an arrest on May 25, 2020. The state’s human rights investigation began about a week later. The department is also under a similar investigation by the federal Justice Department.
Both investigations could result in consent decrees, agreements that are overseen by monitors and enforced by the courts. Such agreements generally include a long list of required changes, benchmarks and timelines. The state human rights department is seeking public comment on what such a consent decree should include.
Its investigation found that officers stopped, searched, arrested, ticketed, used force on and killed Black and Indigenous people at a higher rate than white people. Although Black individuals make up approximately 19 percent of the population, in 10 years of data, 63 percent of the instances where officers recorded the use of force were against Black people, the report said.
The department did not have enough data to look at treatment of other racial and ethnic groups, Rebecca Lucero, the state human rights commissioner, said at a news conference.
Investigators reviewed 700 hours of body camera footage, finding that officers and supervisors used racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language to suspects, witnesses,bystanders — and to one another. The report provides an exhaustive list of slurs that officers used against women and Black people.
The disrespect was so flagrant that local prosecutors said it was difficult to present body camera videos to juries, according to the report: “When M.P.D. officers scream obscenities at community members, it makes it challenging for prosecutors to do their job.”
Officers used “covert social media accounts,” which the report said were “unrelated to any actual or alleged criminal activity,” to observe and engage with elected officials, Black individuals and organizations, sometimes posing as community members to engage or comment. In one instance, the report said, an officer used a fake name to send a message criticizing the N.A.A.C.P.
Mr. Floyd was killed after two rookie officers responded to a call that he had tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. Mr. Floyd declined to get into the squad car. A field training officer, Derek Chauvin, and his partner arrived to provide backup. Mr. Chauvin forced Mr. Floyd to the pavement and knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, while his partner stood guard and the two rookies helped pin Mr. Floyd down.
Mr. Chauvin was convicted of murder and pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations. The three other officers have been convicted of failure to intervene or provide medical aid and still face state charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Although field training officers like Mr. Chauvin have tremendous sway over rookies, the department does not offer ongoing instruction for them, the investigation found — an oversight that it said “furthers race-based policing.” It cited a 2020 case in which a training officer allowed a trainee to search a Black woman who was unarmed, but said that searching an intoxicated white man who admitted to having a knife in his bag would be a waste of the trainee’s time.
The investigation found that the department still fails to empower officers to intervene when they see something wrong. On the first day of training in 2021, the report said, recruits were told that “instant and unquestioned compliance is in order.”
That attitude trickles down — M.P.D. officers demand unquestioned compliance in “even the most banal interactions,” community members told investigators. More than 2,000 residents were interviewed.
Since that academy class, the department has begun peer-intervention training for all officers.
Mayor Jacob Frey and the Police Department have touted numerous policy changes since the killing of Mr. Floyd, including banning chokeholds and neck restraints and updating the department’s use of force policy.
But officers reported that they in some cases had to wait a year or more to hear the details. In the case of the new use-of-force policy, which includes the new limits on restraints, investigators found that officers were provided with only a 15-minute “narrated PowerPoint presentation” on the changes.
The department lacks accountability measures from top to bottom, the investigators found. They said more than a third of officers who are referred for coaching, the least severe form of intervention, do not receive it, and that supervisors fail to flag excessive uses of force.
The report cited a 2017 case in which an officer hit an unarmed 14-year-old in his bedroom with a flashlight and choked him unconscious, all because the teenager did not stand up quickly enough when ordered to do so. A supervisor approved the officer’s actions.
The report said the entities responsible for investigating misconduct often fail to review body camera footage, or give deference to officers over witnesses. It said that the department’s internal affairs unit handled a quarter of complaints improperly, while the Office of Police Conduct Review, which includes civilian investigators, mishandled half of the complaints it investigated.
As of midafternoon Wednesday, the Police Department and Mayor Frey’s office had yet to respond to requests for comment.