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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    New Mexico Gov. Martinez says committed to repeal of illegal immigrant license law

    Published January 24, 2013
    Associated Press

    Gov. Susana Martinez said Wednesday that she remained committed to "full repeal" of a New Mexico law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses despite signaling a willingness to compromise with state Democrats a day earlier.

    Speaking at a press conference about a new state driver's license system, Martinez told reporters that she will continue to push for a repeal of the law even though Senate Democrats have blocked the Republican governor's previous attempts and have warned that another repeal attempt had no chance of passing.

    "This is what I hear from people across the state," Martinez said. "They support a repeal of this law."

    Martinez told the Albuquerque Journal on Tuesday that she would consider legislation that creates a driver's permit for illegal immigrants that couldn't be used as identification. Her comments to the newspaper signaled for the first time since taking office that she would consider a compromise bill that would allow illegal immigrants to somehow legally drive in the state. In the past, Martinez said she would not support anything besides repeal.

    But on Wednesday, Martinez said she remained committed repeal first and would only consider "anything that comes across my desk" after repeal failed.

    Asked if she supported a similar law like in Utah -- a state where people who can't prove U.S. residency can get a permit that allows them to drive, but that document is not a valid identification -- Martinez said no. The Utah law, Martinez said, didn't meet federal security guidelines in her opinion.

    Still, some immigrant advocacy groups welcomed the remarks by Martinez. Marcela Diaz of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a Santa Fe-based immigrant advocacy organization, called the governor's comments "encouraging" and said immigrant groups were ready to work with the governor and lawmakers on amending the law to fight fraud.

    "This is an opening," said Diaz, who has opposed the governor's repeal effort and has organized protests against it. "Even talk of a compromise from the governor's office is encouraging."

    Martinez made her latest comments at an Albuquerque press conference as she unveiled a new system that will allow New Mexico residents to renew driver's licenses online rather than forcing them to renew at crowded Motor Vehicle Division offices. She said the new system came after state workers developed it at her request and should help end long lines at DMV offices.

    Drivers will be able to renew licenses online as long they met certain requirements and aren't holders of commercial driver's licenses or have certain medical conditions, state officials said.

    New Mexico Gov. Martinez says committed to repeal of illegal immigrant license law | Fox News
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Susana Martinez Renews Push to Repeal Licenses For Undocumented

    Jan. 24, 2013
    abc news

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is shown with MVD director Mark Williams at an Albuquerque MVD office, Wednesday Jan. 23, 2013, as she unveils a new online system for driver's license renewal. The Republican said Wednesday that she will continue to push for "full repeal" of a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. (Russell Contreras/AP Photo)

    While immigrants' rights groups and some state governments push for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, one Latina governor is saying no way.

    New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, the first Latina GOP governor in the country, is renewing her push to repeal a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses.

    "I am once again asking the legislature to repeal the law that gives driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," Martinez said in a Facebook post. "I am always willing to discuss this issue with legislators from both parties and explore ways to find common ground, but I believe the most effective solution is to simply repeal this dangerous law."

    Martinez has advocated a repeal of the law before, during her run for governor.

    In 2011, according to CNN, she said the law had "created an industry of human trafficking."

    "People are getting paid to bring other people from all over the country to New Mexico for the whole purpose of defrauding our state," she said.

    A spokesperson for the governor's office did not respond to a request for comment.

    "Currently, illegal immigrants from all over the country come to New Mexico to obtain a license without having the intention of staying here," the state's secretary of taxation and revenue, Demesia Padilla, said in 2011, according to CNN.

    But supporters of the law say repealing it would not deter people from driving, it would simply mean more untrained, uninsured drivers on the road. Critics insist that the law leads to fraud.

    "We believe that a majority who get licenses don't live here," said S.U. Mahesh, a spokesman for New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Division.

    Mahesh said the department gets a case of fraud every few months or so. When asked to square his claim that a majority of the licenses are fraudulently issued with the small case number, he said he doesn't think most instances are caught.

    "It's a major identity theft issue for residents here," he continued. "The bottom line is this is not helping with the public safety issue."

    The state has prosecuted some New Mexico residents for allowing undocumented immigrants who do not reside in the state to use their addresses to obtain licenses. But studies also show that unlicensed drivers, most of whom are undocumented immigrants, are more likely be involved in fatal car crashes than licensed drivers.

    A study by the California Department of Motor Vehicles found that requiring drivers to take written and practical driving tests reduces traffic fatalities.

    And with significant rural areas, New Mexico doesn't boast the same public transportation systems that connect cities and towns across the East Coast, and it certainly doesn't have anything comparable to the transit systems in urban cities like New York and Washington, D.C. Unlicensed drivers are often unable to get to work or run errands without driving, so while repeal of the law might deter some would-be drivers, it would be unlikely to fix the problem entirely.

    When asked how undocumented immigrants would go about their daily lives without licenses, Mahesh said it was "a good question."

    "The bottom line is the governor has made clear this is a bad law that needs to be repealed," he said.

    The issue of driver's licenses and undocumented immigrants has become a hot topic lately, with some states, including California, Nevada and Oregon, deciding to issue licenses to young people granted relief from deportation through deferred action.

    Other states, including Arizona and Michigan, have said they will not issue licenses to deferred action recipients, although updated USCIS guidelines may lead to a reevaluation of that policy in some states.

    New Mexico DREAMers are currently eligible for licenses based on the law Martinez wants to repeal. It is unclear whether deferred action recipients in the state would be eligible for licenses if the current law were changed or repealed. Mahesh referred those questions to the governor's office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

    Washington and New Mexico currently allow undocumented immigrants to get licenses, while Utah offers them driving permits. Illinois has approved a plan to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain temporary licenses.

    New Mexico Gov. Martinez Opposes Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants - ABC News
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  3. #3
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    May 2006
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