Note: As mentioned before, a driver's license is the usual form of
ID required to purchase firearms in most of the country. This is
about illegal immigrants, legal immigrants have no problem obtaining
a driver's license in the U.S. Also would like to see some
confirmation on claim that Utah's driver's license cannot be used as
NM immigrants prepare for another license fight
Sun, 01/15/2012 - 16:06
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.(AP) — Immigrant advocates and their allies are
preparing for another round of rallies and lobbying efforts in their
quest to protect a state law that allows some illegal immigrants to
obtain a state driver's license.
The preparation comes as lawmakers are set to begin a new legislative
session and after activists have held community meetings around the
state to organize immigrants, students and religious leaders.
The 30-day session that begins Tuesday is expected to focus on the
state budget, but Gov. Susana Martinez also wants lawmakers to repeal
the illegal immigrant driver's license law.
Martinez has pressed lawmakers to do away with the law before,
including a high-profile effort during last year's session. It also
was a key issue in her gubernatorial campaign.
"I don't know what else can be discussed about it," Martinez told The
Associated Press. "What we need to do is just sit down and vote on
the issue. Just vote."
But Marcela Diaz, executive director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a
Santa Fe-based immigrant advocacy group, said the only reason the
issue is coming up again is because politicians are using the state's
driver's license repeal to appeal to anti-immigrant voters.
"This is part of a larger narrative to go after immigrants," said
Diaz, who is organizing groups around the state for a rally and
lobbying effort Jan. 24. "The law is an incentive for immigrants to
follow state law and makes the state safer."
Diaz predicted that hundreds of immigrants and their allies will come
to Santa Fe for the Jan. 24th event, and others will return
throughout the session.
New Mexico is one of only three states — the others are Washington
and Utah — where an illegal immigrant can get a driver's license
because no proof of citizenship is required. However, Utah's permits
cannot be used as government ID cards.
Joining Somos Un Pueblo Unido is the New Mexico Catholic Conference
of Bishops who vowed to bring members to Santa Fe to put pressure on
lawmakers to keep the law in place. This week, Catholic churches
around the state used the church's annual "National Migration Week"
to pass out information and hold community meetings over the issue.
"The last time we got involved, I think we changed the debate," said
Catholic Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe.
In addition, Rev. Angela Herrera, an assistant minister with the
First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, said members of her church and
other interfaith leaders were planning to write letters and lobby
lawmakers to keep the law.
Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for the Border Network for Human
Rights, an El Paso, Texas-based immigrant advocacy group, said
activists are scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to hold a march
in downtown Las Cruces to support the law. "A day off for most is
a day on for us," said Parker. "We have to keep up the pressure."