Group Protests Possible Change in NM Driver's License Law
POSTED: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 5:19pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 12:03pm
LAS CRUCES- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez wants to repeal the law which allows illegal immigrants to get a state driver's license. No citizenship, no license.
In response dozens of protestors showed up today outside a driver’s license office in Las Cruces
If Governor Martinez is successful in repealing this driver's license law, the protesters claim the state's economy will suffer, the roads will become dangerous, and some families will have no way to get to work, school or even to the doctor.
“We don't support what she's proposing. We're very worried in our communities,” says Claudia Diaz.
She's one of about 30 protesters who gathered in front of the DMV on West Picacho. They oppose Governor Susana Martinez’s effort to get rid of a state law that allows illegal immigrants to get New Mexico driver's licenses.
Scott Darnell, spokesperson for Martinez says it's about security because "you have people being trafficked into the state by fraud rings from around the world for the sole purpose of getting a New Mexico driver's license and leaving."
"I think it's important that we have security, but there's better ways to do it," says County Commissioner Billy Garret.
Protesters, including County Commissioner Billy Garret say repealing the law would be bad for the economy, because illegal immigrants won't be able to get to work.
"The governor seems to think people need to be out of work, sick and hungry. That's the consequence of the program that the governor is supporting," says Garret.
"The only thing that will happen is the governor repeals this law is that people will drive without licenses," says Christina Parker, of the Border Network for Human Rights.
But Governor Martinez’s administration doesn't think we'll see any of those negative effects. Darnell says 15 other states have gotten rid of similar driver's license laws.
“You haven't seen these issues in other states that have had these laws on the books," says Darnell.
It's a heated debate that lawmakers in Santa Fe will take on next month.
"We’re asking the legislature and the governor to preserve the common sense driver’s license law," says Jose Manuel Escobedo, of the Border Network for Human Rights.
The Border Network for Human Rights, the group that organized today's protest, plans to start handing out this petition. It'll be sent senators and representatives asking them not to support Governor Martinez in repealing the driver's license law.