STATEWIDE IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS ORGANIZATION RESPONDS TO HOUSE CONCURRENCE VOTE: REAL ID COMPROMISE REBUKES GOVERNOR'S 5-YEAR EFFORT TO REPEAL DLS
February 15, 2016
SANTA FE, NM--With dozens of immigrant workers and their U.S. Citizen children looking on from the gallery, a majority of House Republicans and Democrats voted to approve an amended version of HB99, a driver's license compromise that keeps undocumented immigrant drivers licensed and safeguards current license holders from ever being fingerprinted.
The following is a statement from Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization:
"Today, the Legislature voted overwhelmingly to keep our families licensed and New Mexico's roads safe. More than 90,000 of us who have lived, worked and contributed to this state, fought successfully for the dignity of our families and in practical terms came out unscathed. Republican and Democratic legislators listened to a majority of New Mexican voters who overwhelmingly supported keeping undocumented immigrants licensed to drive for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. Now, eligible New Mexicans will have the choice to apply for a new Real ID complaint license or a non-Real ID license referred to as a driving authorization card, which would also be available to undocumented immigrants.
The Governor's "my way or the highway" approach did not work. We are proud that legislators continued to stand up to her anti-immigrant agenda and successfully coalesced around a non-discriminatory, practical and compassionate approach."
Additional quotes from Somos members across the state:
"I have been licensed to drive for 10 years now," said Veronica Velasquez, member of the United Worker Center of New Mexico based in Santa Fe. "My two U.S. citizen children depend on me to take them to school, to doctor's appointments and much more. I am very glad our representatives stood up to the Governor and approved a real compromise that allows immigrants like me to continue to be licensed to drive in New Mexico."
"After years of defending our families from the Governor's attacks, I am thankful both Republicans and Democrats stood against the politics of hate and voted to keep immigrants like me licensed to drive, " said Jose Sahagun, member of Somos Roswell. "I can continue driving to the dairy farm where I have worked for over 20 years without the fear of discrimination or deportation and provide for my family and contribute to Roswell.
"I have lived in Clovis for 10 years and I work in the dairy farms, " said Francisco Gonzales. "I depend on my license to be able to go to work everyday and provide for my family. I feel like a heavy weight was lifted from my community as legislators stood for the dignity of our families and against discrimination."
"In Farmington, our local sheriff works with federal immigration officials. I am relived to know that with this new compromise, I will not be forced to carry a driver's permit that identifies me as undocumented, " said Gloria Portillo, member of Families United for Justice in Farmington. I can continue driving and providing for my family without the fear that one day I might not come home."
Somos Un Pueblo Unido is a statewide immigrant-led civil and worker's rights organization with membership teams in ten counties and offices in Santa Fe and Roswell. Somos spearheaded a campaign in 2003 with law enforcement officials, victims rights agencies, and faith and civil rights groups to require qualified undocumented immigrants to apply for licenses, obtain insurance, and register their vehicles.