Immigrant driver's licenses an issue once again for state legislature

Created: 01/29/2014 4:48 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The New Mexico State Capitol is once again turning into a battlefield for the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

This is the fifth time Gov. Susana Martinez has demanded that state lawmakers dump the 2003 law that allows licenses for people here illegally, and for the fifth time it looks like the numbers in the legislature just don't add up to make that happen.

About one hundred demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday, armed with 700 milk cartons, each one bearing the Zia symbol and a picture of an immigrant family that relies on somebody having a New Mexico license. The crowd heard from a Lea County dairy farm worker who said he couldn't work without his license. Ditto for another man who works in the oil fields near Hobbs. Protest organizer Marina Pina said the issue is a waste of time in the 30 day legislative session.

"We do not want our legislators to focus on licenses," Pina said. "Taking our licenses is not sensible. It would increase racial profiling in our communities."

Gov. Martinez fired the first shot in this fight on day one of the session in her State of the State Address.

"It's time to act," Martinez proclaimed in her speech. "The legislature should do what the overwhelming majority of New Mexicans are demanding - repeal this dangerous law!"

The governor may well have the votes to eke out yet another narrow win in the House of Representatives, but she surely does not in the state Senate.

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