After more than three hours of discussion and debate, the Las Cruces City Council voted to officially support the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monument on Monday.
More than 100 people packed the council chambers to offer arguments both for and against the monument.
Those who spoke in favor of the monument said it's necessary to protect the more than 600,000 acres of land for its natural beauty and rich history.
"I will tell you that in the first year I was here, I had 50 visitors who were interested in the archaeological value of this area. They spent money. They stayed in hotels," said Margaret Barrier, an archaeologist who lives in the area.
"Creating this monument will help to connect Las Cruces to broader histories throughout the region and the federal level. So, I support the creation of this monument," said Amado Guzman, a New Mexico State University graduate student.
However, it seemed many in the room were against the proposal. Several ranchers who own land within the proposed designation spoke out angrily about concerns with their grazing rights.
"To bring this and take away our land, it's insane. It's the people that are pushing this are making money off of it," said one woman.
"I cannot understand why you would even consider this proposal with no determination of the potential consequences," another woman said.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima assured the public he has done his research on the proposal. He said private land rights would not be affected.
Miyagishima also made sure to mention the city of Las Cruces does not have any authority to actually designate the national monument. He said that is up to either Congress or President Barack Obama.