Friday, February 11, 2011

House Legislative Committee In New Mexico Failed To Approve Driving Permits For Undocumented Immigrants

Representative William "Bill" R. Rehm

House bill allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driving permits after their driver licenses are revoked has stalled in New Mexico.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 11, 2011

Santa Fe, NM - On Thursday, KRQE News 13 reported that the House of Representatives Labor and Human Resources Committee had tabled Bill 261 on a vote of 5-4. The bill would have allowed the state to issue yearly driving permits for undocumented immigrants as a voluntary exchange for their actual driver licenses from July to December 31. The measure would have affected at least 83,000 immigrants illegally in the state, but it failed to pass a committee vote to move it forward.
Representative William "Bill" R. Rehm (R-Albuquerque) sponsored the House bill as a compromise, since he is also endorsing a proposed bill to revoke current driver licenses issued to the tens of thousands of undocumented drivers in New Mexico.
Governor Susana Martinez (R), a GOP anti-immigrant governor has publicly supported Rehm's efforts to revoke licenses and doesn't favor driving permits for undocumented immigrants either. She recently issued an executive order for law enforcement officers to question immigrants legal status when stopped for traffic violations or charged with a crime throughout the state.
Martinez ancestors were orginally from Mexico.
Representative Andy Nuñez (I-Hatch) has taken the lead in introducing a bill that would require a Social Security number to apply for a driver's license. Nuñez is pushing Governor Martinez' agenda to revoke driver licenses to undocumented immigrants who are currently driving legally and with insurance. Once the licenses are revoked, thousands will continue to drive regardless and the issue of public safety will no doubt spark more debate, according to critics and Democrats.
Currently, only the state of Washington and New Mexico are issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants.

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