I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Martinez, like Denish, won’t talk about potential consequences of driver’s license decision
Republican Susana Martinez on Monday finally sent in a response to questions The Independent posed to both gubernatorial candidates last week about the consequences of ending New Mexico’s policy of giving illegal immigrants state driver’s licenses.
But like her Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Martinez ignored the questions and stayed on message.
“Granting licenses to illegal immigrants attracts more illegal immigrants to the state and flies in the face of common-sense,” Martinez’s campaign manager, Ryan Cangliosi, said in an e-mail to The Independent. “There have been documented cases of criminals who are illegally in the United States obtaining driver’s licenses and that concern outweighs the arguments by proponents about the insurance issues,” he continued.
Cangliosi went on to say that the best route to creating safe communities “is to encourage all to follow the law, not create sanctuary policies.”
Both candidates have said they want to end the state’s practice of issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. Given their positions, The Independent wanted to know how each would address a potential rise in the state’s uninsured rate and the possible increase in non-licensed motorists on the state’s highways and thoroughfares if the state stopped issuing licenses to illegal immigrants.
Denish’s campaign also sidestepped the questions last week when it sent in its response. Denish campaign spokesman, Chris Cervini, urged federal action to create federal immigration reform legislation rather than address the questions The Independent posed.
It seems neither candidate for governor wants to talk about the repercussions of the decision and how to address those potential consequences.
Public safety was a major reason given in 2003 for passing a law that opened up New Mexico drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants. Illegal immigrants who had drivers’ licenses would be guaranteed to understand our laws and would be able to buy car insurance, a practice that conceivably would help to reduce the state’s then-20 percent-uninsured rate, the argument went.
A driver’s license also created a driving record. Currently, any citation a motorist receives goes on his or her record, making it easier for authorities to identify serial DWI offenders, for example, state officials say.
While Denish has said she’d consider stopping the issuance of licenses going forward, Martinez has said she wants to repeal the law, revoking the tens of thousands of the state’s drivers’ licenses already issued to illegal immigrants.
Currently around 80,000 foreign nationals have New Mexico driver’s licenses, but not all are illegal immigrants, making it difficult to determine the exact number of illegal immigrants with state driver’s licenses, according to the state.