STATEWIDE GROUPS RESPOND TO GOVERNOR SIGNING REAL ID COMPROMISE LAW ENSURES NEW MEXICANS WILL NOT BE FORCED TO GET A FEDERAL ID AND ALLOWS UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS TO OBTAIN NON-REAL ID LICENSES
March 8, 2016
SANTA FE, NM--After a five-year unsuccessful push to take away licenses from immigrants families, Governor Martinez today signed into law a drastically amended version of HB99. HB99 is REAL ID compromise that keeps undocumented immigrant drivers licensed, safeguards current immigrant license holders from ever being fingerprinted, and gives New Mexicans a choice to opt out of getting a federal ID card.
The following is a statement from Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization:
"We are proud that both Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Senate stood up to Governor Martinez' long campaign to divide New Mexicans on this issue. It is because of their willingness to put families and public safety before politics that thousands of New Mexicans will not be forced to obtain a federal ID and that undocumented immigrant drivers will continue to have access to a non-REAL ID license.
The Governor will continue to try to spin her loss, but the reality is that New Mexico rejected her dangerous plan to put tens of thousands of unlicensed drivers on New Mexico's roads. The Legislature did not allow the Governor or Representatives Pacheco and Nuñez to discriminate against immigrant families who have long lived, worked and contribute to the economy in New Mexico."
Rocio Varas, member of Somos and immigrant resident of Portales said on Tuesday: "I am extremely happy to know that we managed to preserve our licenses and I am grateful that legislators like Sen. Stuart Ingle recognized the many contributions of immigrant families to our state. Because of the leadership of senators like Ingle, Smith and Sanchez our immigrant families can celebrate this major victory."
Click here for a fact sheet on the new driver's license law.
More responses from various statewide civil rights, faith and labor organizations:
"The ACLU has always opposed REAL ID as a classic example of government overreach that compromises our privacy while doing nothing to make us safer. While not perfect, the driver's license bill signed today allows New Mexicans to opt out of REAL ID while still retaining driving privileges. Many New Mexicans are rightly concerned about REAL ID and other national ID schemes, and we are pleased that people in New Mexico have a choice of whether to participate or not."
- Steven Robert Allen, Director of Public Policy for the ACLU of New Mexico
"We are pleased our Legislature finally pushed the Governor to accept a compromise that not only respects the choice of New Mexicans to obtain a federal ID, but most importantly, maintains the dignity and safety of our vibrant and hardworking immigrant community."
- Amber Royster, Executive Director for Equality New Mexico
"The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) consistently supports equal access to human services for immigrants. We are pleased that undocumented immigrants living in New Mexico will continue to be able to obtain licenses, so that they may drive to work, school and health care facilities and go about their daily lives."
- Suki Halevi, New Mexico Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League
"As a member of the NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, I want to acknowledge all the work that was done to pass the REAL ID driver's license bill. It is a victory for the immigrant community and those who advocate for immigrant rights--due in large part to moral persuasion, and the ultimate view that equality and non-discrimination are highly valued. And the ultimate"
- Renee Wolters, member of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice
"As educators, we are happy to see HB 99 be signed into law. This bill is a positive step forward for New Mexico, and helps to keep our schools, families, and communities intact."
- Stephanie Ly, President of the New Mexico Federation of Teachers.
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.