Governor Susana Martinez held a news conference today at the New
Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue to voice her strong support for ending the issuance of New Mexico driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Since 2003, New Mexico has issued over 82,000 driver's licenses and nearly 3,000 identification cards to foreign nationals without determining immigration status. The Governor was joined by Representative Andy Nuñez (I-Hatch) and Senator John Ryan (R-Albuquerque), who will be carrying legislation to change the current policy.
"Strengthening our licensing laws is a matter of public safety," said Governor Martinez. "We have seen and heard all the stories about the fraud and abuse that has resulted from the lenient driver's policy that is currently in place in New Mexico. It's no mystery that New Mexico's licensing law is attracting illegal immigrants and those seeking to obtain official identification cards; after all, we are one of only three states in the country that gives licenses to people without verifying that they are legally in the United States."
Earlier this year, a Polish man pled guilty for bringing illegal immigrants into New Mexico to obtain New Mexico driver's licenses. He had been running an ad in a Polishlanguage newspaper advertising that he could guarantee a license in exchange for a thousand dollars.
"At the time that New Mexico loosened its driver's license policy, 17 other states had similar laws. It speaks volumes that all but three have since abandoned that approach. As other states clamp down, New Mexico has become a haven for people looking to circumvent the law," Martinez continued.
In 2010 alone, the number of driver's licenses issued to foreign nationals increased by 22 percent.