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Court asked to stop immigrant license checks

•  National News     updated  2011/08/24 08:57


Four state legislators and a Silver City woman asked a judge Wednesday to stop Gov. Susana Martinez's administration from trying to verify whether immigrants who received a driver's license in New Mexico still live in the state.

An Albuquerque law firm and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a lawsuit in state District Court in Santa Fe on behalf of the Democratic lawmakers and the Hispanic woman.

The suit seeks to block a state agency from checking a random sample of 10,000 license holders who are foreign nationals to determine their residency.

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.

Martinez wants the Legislature to end New Mexico's policy of granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. She and other critics contend it jeopardizes public safety and attracts illegal immigrants who fraudulently claim to live in the state only to get ID cards that make it easier to stay in the country.





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