Helicopter video shows border fencing along New Mexico state land near the Santa Teresa International Port of Entry, as it stood in summer 2017. USA TODAY NETWORK


ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is questioning a decision by the state’s top elected land manager to block federal authorities from accessing state trust land along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn contends the federal government never received permission and has not paid the state for easements or rights of way to use the property.

Dunn has reached out to federal officials in hopes of reaching an agreement but has yet to hear back. He cordoned off the property Tuesday.

More: New Mexico land boss to Border Patrol: Stop trespassing

Martinez said she was surprised to hear about the dust up, saying more conversations should have been held with the federal government given that border security is a top priority.

The two-term Republican governor said the move to keep border patrol officers out of the area was “not well thought out.”

Dunn and Martinez have not always seen eye-to-eye. The animosity between the politicians reached a crescendo in August and September of 2017 when Dunn accused Martinez and her political advisor, Jay McCleskey, of trying to sink his campaign for the US congressional seat in southern New Mexico.

Dunn, then a Republican, later dropped out of the race, registered as a Libertarian and entered the US Senate race.

More: Aubrey Dunn Jr.: Politician without a party


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