Thursday, October 4, 2012



NOTE: Yet again. The Driver's license is the primary mode of ID for
purchase of firearms.

NM blocked from resuming immigrant license checks
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 12:19am
The Associated Press
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SANTA FE, N.M.(AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration
agreed Wednesday to settle a lawsuit and not revive a plan to cancel
the driver's licenses of immigrants who fail to verify whether they
still live in the state.

The administration announced the program last year but it was
suspended by a state district court in Santa Fe after the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a lawsuit. District
Judge Sarah Singleton on Wednesday issued an order permanently
blocking the program and stopping the administration from canceling
licenses of any immigrants initially checked unless the state has
evidence of fraud.

"We are elated to report that this discriminatory program, which was
born out of ill-will and bad politics, has met a swift end," David
Hinojosa, southwest regional counsel for MALDEF, said in a statement.
"New Mexicans who have validly obtained their licenses can be assured
that they will not be targeted based on their nationality."

At the time of the program, only New Mexico and Washington allowed
illegal immigrants to obtain the same driver's license as a U.S.
citizen. Utah grants immigrants a driving permit that can't be used
for identification.

A driver's license can help people open bank accounts or board a
commercial airliner. A newly enacted law in California will offer
driver's licenses to young immigrants qualifying for federal work

Scott Darnell, a spokesman for the governor, said the administration
agreed to the court order and resolve the lawsuit because the license
verification program would have been suspended for months if there
had been a trial and appeals. The governor plans to push again in
next year's Legislature to try to stop the state from issuing
driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

The state sent out about 10,000 letters last year to foreign
nationals with driver's licenses asking them to schedule appointments
to recertify whether they were New Mexico residents.

A 2003 law allows foreign nationals without a Social Security number
to obtain a driver's license. More than 100,000 licenses have been
issued but the state says it doesn't know how many have gone to
illegal immigrants because it doesn't ask the immigration status of
license applicants.

The governor contends that many immigrants came to New Mexico solely
to obtain a license and then left the state. About 30 percent of
those letters were returned as undeliverable for some reason,
including that there was no forwarding address for an individual.

A spokesman for the Taxation and Revenue Department said no licenses
have been canceled so far because of the program to verify a license
holder's residency.

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