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New Mexico grants short amnesty to people owing child support

By Joseph Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has granted an amnesty until Aug. 29 to parents who face arrest after falling behind with child support payments, but warned that a crackdown will begin next month targeting those who do not pay up.

Under the scheme, non-custodial parents with an outstanding warrant for unpaid child support can pay a bond this month to cancel outstanding bench warrants, with no fear of detention, Martinez said in a statement late Wednesday.

"New Mexico is committed to providing as many tools as possible to help parents support their children emotionally and financially," the governor said.

New Mexico state police and local enforcement agencies will begin new arrest sweeps beginning Aug. 30, she added.

The state's Department of Human Services website currently lists 662 individuals with arrest warrants totaling $1,812,258 in bonds and $20,297,592 in outstanding child support.

The two men who owe the most are both recorded as having more than $330,000 in child support payments outstanding.

The Department of Human Services says it collected a total of $137.1 million in child support payments during fiscal year 2014, up almost 4 percent from the preceding fiscal year.

(Reporting by Joseph Kolb; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)