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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Martinez cracks down on driver's licenses

    Martinez cracks down on driver's licenses
    Alamogordo Daily News
    By Milan Simonich, Texas-New Mexico Newspapers
    Posted: 07/19/2011 09:25:09 PM MDT

    SANTA FE - Gov. Susana Martinez, continuing her fight against the state issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, said Tuesday she will require at least 10,000 foreign nationals to verify that they live in New Mexico.

    People from Poland, China and Mexico, all living elsewhere in the United States, have been arrested on suspicion of falsifying documents to try to obtain New Mexico driver's licenses.

    Martinez says the fraud is pervasive enough that New Mexico's driver's license is not secure.

    "We are one of only two states that offer driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and our state has become a destination spot for people from other states and around the world who wish to receive an official government-issued ID card," Martinez said.

    A Republican, Martinez tried but failed in last winter's legislative session to outlaw driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. She said she would revive the issue for the Legislature's special session this fall.

    Democrats in the Legislature generally opposed Martinez's attempt to take away driver's licenses from illegal immigrants.

    Two of them said Tuesday that she was manipulating the issue for political gain or did not understand the benefits the licensing system provides to other state residents.

    "I guess what she's trying to do is keep this driver's license issue as a wedge issue," said state Sen. Michael Sanchez of Belen, the Democrats' floor leader.

    State Rep. Antonio Lujan, D-Las Cruces, said the licensing
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    program for illegal immigrants actually had made the public safer, regardless of Martinez's claims.

    Foreign nationals without proof of immigration status drive to their jobs all across New Mexico, Lujan said. By granting illegal immigrants driver's licenses, the Legislature enabled them to obtain auto insurance, thereby protecting more drivers, passengers and pedestrians, Lujan said.

    But Martinez said the licensing system, established in 2003 under Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, does anything but make New Mexico safer.

    She said fraud rings operating in cities as far away as Chicago had targeted New Mexico. Illegal immigrants who cannot obtain driver's licenses in their home state will pay $500 to $6,000 each to scam artists who prey on New Mexico's loose licensing system, Martinez said.

    Martinez weeks ago asked her cabinet members to devise a means of clamping down on fraud. She said the initial crackdown will target a random sample of foreign nationals who have obtained New Mexico driver's licenses.

    In all, about 85,000 foreign nationals have New Mexico driver's licenses. They account for 5 percent of the 1.6 million people with state licenses.

    Using a random system, the state Motor Vehicle Division on Tuesday began writing 10,000 of the foreign national license holders, telling them they have 30 days to make an in-person appointment to prove that they live in New Mexico.

    "This review process will allow us to determine how deep this problem runs and also make necessary regulatory changes to prevent fraud and misrepresentation," said Demesia Padilla, secretary of the state Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees driver's licenses.

    She said the state would move to cancel driver's licenses held by foreign nationals who live outside New Mexico. Those who fail to comply with the state's new certification system also will lose their licenses.

    Padilla said the verification process would be expanded if the random checks uncover significant problems.

    Sanchez, the senator from Belen, said he saw pitfalls in the governor's administrative changes.

    "I know people at Kirtland (Air Force Base) and Sandia (National Laboratories) who receive yearlong assignments that have them working elsewhere. Is she going to revoke all of their driver's licenses too?" he asked.

    Sanchez, perhaps Martinez's toughest opponent in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, said he did not understand why she would pursue a change in the licensing law as well as an administrative crackdown.

    Martinez said both steps were necessary.

    "Let me be very clear: The fraud and abuse related to New Mexico's driver's license will not go away until the irresponsible law that grants driver's licenses to illegal immigrants is repealed," she said. "But in the meantime, we owe it to New Mexicans to identify driver's licenses that are being used improperly and cancel them."

    During the last legislative session, Martinez favored a bill by state Rep. Andy Nunez, an independent from Hatch, to stop licensing illegal immigrants.

    Nunez's bill carried 42-28 in the House of Representatives, but died in the Senate. Democrats hold a significant edge in the Senate, 27-15, and most of them fought Martinez on the licensing bill.

    The margin in the House is much closer, 36 Democrats, 33 Republicans and Nunez, the independent.


    Santa Fe bureau chief Milan Simonich can be reached at msimonich@tnmnp.com or (505) 820-6898. His blog is at nmcapitolreport.com.

    How it will work

    Foreign nationals who receive a letter to verify their residency can call 1 (855) 784-8407 or go online to www.mvd.newmexico.gov to make appointments. The letter will include a description of the process for proving residency.
    Motor Vehicle Division regulations require anyone who has moved since the date of obtaining a driver s license to notify the agency of the change of address. Some may have moved since obtaining their driver s licenses and have failed to properly notify MVD, said Demesia Padilla, secretary of the state Taxation and Revenue Department. To accommodate them, the state will resend returned letters if any of them have a new forwarding address within New Mexico.
    If the forwarding address is from out of state, we will cancel those individuals driver s licenses, Padilla.

    http://www.alamogordonews.com/ci_18510505
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Related:
    NM Governor launches crackdown on foreign national driver's licenses
    http://www.alipac.us/ftopicp-1246920.html#1246920
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Good for her! You Go Martinez. Hunt them down, call them in, then revoke their license. You really need an AZ immigration law in New Mexico. All states need one. For those too timid and weak to pass them, shame on you, and it's time to stand up as real men and women, do like Arizona, and protect your citizens with laws that lay that foundation like the numerous immigration and immigration related laws of Arizona that equally attack the illegal employer and the illegal employee, the trespasser, the fraud, the swindler, the thief, the drug runner as well as the aider, abetter and harborer, without bias or preference, because they are breaking our laws and causing harm to citizens every single day illegal aliens are present in the United States.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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