Live updates: Here's what's happening during President Donald Trump's visit to Rio Rancho
This is a continually updated blog of events happening outside and inside of Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, where President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Monday.
The rally ends with President Trump thanking New Mexico. Follow reporter Hannah Grover on Twitter for a recap of the highlights from the president's speech.
Rain begins to fall at the Santa Ana Star Center. The feed to a jumbo screen showing the rally is cut and Trump supporters and protesters who are outside begin to leave.
"Republicans believe our cities should be sanctuaries for law-abiding Americans, not for criminal aliens," Trump said. "
President Trump spoke about the Mueller Report and the calls for impeachment. "They found no collusion, no obstruction," he said.
President Trump touts oil industry revenue increases in New Mexico and notes the U.S. is a net exporter of energy. "Now, under the Green New Deal, that all goes away." Shortly before, a protester was removed. The President joked, "One person just went home to Mommy a little bit sooner."
The motorcade passed through Bernalillo heading to the Star Center as spectators watched from the sidewalks. Police blocked intersections.
The President's motorcade is on the way to Santa Ana Star Center.
President Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale just took the stage. He said Trump has landed and is on his way.
Some officials on-site estimate the crowd size around 15,000. The Santa Ana Star Center typically holds about 7,500 I'm told, but the arena's capacity had been pushed to around 9,000 for tonight's rally.
Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace is now taking the stand to speak. Prior to that state GOP leader Steve Pearce spoke about the 2018 election. He lost his bid for governor in 2018. "Forget the past, we're going to turn New Mexico red in 2020," he said. "President Trump leads the way in appreciating police officers and appreciating those who served," Pearce said after recognizing the veterans at the rally.
4:30 p.m.: Parking lot full
Doors to the Santa Ana Star Center opened about 4 p.m., the same time authorities closed off the parking lot to the arena, ostensibly because the 3,500 or so spaces were filled.
Drivers headed to the arena were being diverted to a dirt parking lot near the isolated arena in Rio Rancho.
President Donald Trump was scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m.
Protesters lined up on the roads leading to the arena and in a designated "peaceful assembly area" outside of the Santa Ana Start Center.
"No hate in our state!" the protesters chanted.
A Democratic Party-sponsored event was slated to begin at 5 p.m. at Tiguex Park in Old Town Albuquerque, about a half-hour away from the Rio Rancho arena.
2 p.m.: Thousands line up
Thousands are already lined up outside the Santa Ana Star Center, six hours before President Donald Trump is scheduled to take the stage.
The 2020 campaign rally event is situated in a Rio Rancho arena, about 25 minutes from downtown 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.
The president said on Twitter that he expects a large crowd.
Billboards have message for Trump
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.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the state's secretary of state and a Democratic candidate for US Senate, posted on Twitter a photo of a billboard in Albuquerque reading in all caps: "President Trump, go back to where you came from #fueratrump."
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is also taking aim at President Donald Trump ahead of his visit to the state.
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.
New Mexico 'in play'
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.
Trump will be making his first appearance as president in a state he lost to 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points. Nonetheless, Trump's re-election campaign and the state GOP have signaled confidence that New Mexico is, in the words of campaign manager Brad Parscale in April, "in play in 2020."
Diego Quintana, a Vietnam veteran from Taos, traveled to Rio Rancho to see Trump's rally. He said he's pleased with Trump's performance as president and feels the president has helped the Veterans Administration.
"I don't think he's in there for money or … to be recognized. He already has all that," Quintana said. "I think he's one of the greatest presidents we'll ever have."
Gavin Clarkson and Chris Mathys were among the Republican politicians in line Monday. Both are from Las Cruces, in the southern part of the state.
Clarkson, a former Trump Administration appointee, is running for U.S. Senate.
Mathys is making a run for New Mexico's second congressional district.
He said the crowd attending the rally is concerned about the Second Amendment, is pro-life and believes "Socialism is not the answer."
"This president is extremely popular. This president is getting a lot of things done," Mathys said. "And people are here to acknowledge our president, support our president and I strongly believe that we can make sure he is our president for the next four years."
Last week, Trump attacked the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll results showing that his job approval rating has dropped to 38% from 44% in July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.