Keep Driver's Licenses for Undocumented in New Mexico

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LOS ANGELES -- New Mexico is one of the few states that still allows the undocumented to obtain driver’s licenses. This will no longer be the case if Governor Susana Martinez’s has her way.

Martinez, who took office last January, campaigned in favor of eliminating licenses and now wants to fulfill her promise despite the opposition from the Democrat-led state legislature.

She has argued that the licenses are a magnet for the undocumented and that giving out official identification to individuals without papers is a serious threat to public safety.

These are tired old excuses, especially in terms of public safety.

Licenses for the undocumented were approved back in 2003 in New Mexico as a way to address the problem of those driving without a license or car insurance as well as a way to build ties between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

We believe to eliminate driver’s licenses for the undocumented actually threatens rather than strengthens public security.

For example, this is the way to register digital fingerprints and to secure a valid address. If not for this, there would be no way to have this information on individuals who entered and are living in the country illegally.

Fortunately it will be very difficult for Martinez to get her way given opposition from the majority in the legislature. This means that the undocumented will register with a state agency, they will be able to obtain car insurance, and there will be no negative impact on the collaboration between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

New Mexicans are certainly much safer this way than they would be with the Governor’s idea.
Otherwise unobtainable information is secured with driver’s licenses