New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is advocating a new plan that would require about 10,000 foreign nationals in the state with driver’s licenses to verify their residency, a move she believes will end the state’s status as a haven for people wishing to obtain driver’s licenses with false documents, according to the Farmington Daily Times.
Martinez told the publication that she believes immigrants, some legal and some unauthorized, seek out New Mexico licenses because they are easy to obtain.
“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,” she told the newspaper.
Some officials in New Mexico see this initiative as a way to create a wedge between Democrats and Republicans on the matter of immigration. Martinez is a Republican.
Many see driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants as a positive step, including State Representative Antonio Lujan. The Democrat told the news source that licenses allow undocumented workers to obtain auto insurance, making the roads safer. Making the process more difficult could negatively impact public safety.
According to the New York Times, New Mexico and Arizona, despite being neighbors, have two vastly different views on immigration. Arizona recently passed one of the nation’s most strict illegal immigration legislations.