AP10110209353New Mexican lawmakers are moving to end the state's reputation as a "sanctuary state" for illegal immigrants. On Monday, Governor Susana Martinez issued an executive order to let police ask about the immigration status of people they arrest. On the same day, a lawmaker introduced one of two laws being considered to end the state's policy of giving out drivers licenses without asking for proof of legal residency.
New Mexico is one of only two states that requires no proof of legal residency (like a Social Security card or a visa) to obtain a driver's license. New Mexico Rep. Andy Nunez, a one-time Democrat who defected from the Party this month, introduced a bill earlier this month to reverse the 2003 law and require everyone to prove they're a legal resident.
"People have been abusing it," Nunez tells The Lookout. "Some people are bringing carloads of people who are getting...driver's licenses and then they go [back] to the other state where they came from."
An Associated Press analysis found that immigrant applications for licenses in New Mexico, Utah and Washington surged 60 percent in the weeks following the passage of Arizona's immigration law, suggesting that people may have been coming from out of state seeking valid ID. It's tricky to say how many of those people were not authorized to be in the country, however, because the states group legal immigrants and illegal immigrants' applications together.
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