One of the highest-profile indications that New Mexico is a truly immigrant-friendly state is the fact that we have a law that allows undocumented immigrants to receive a state drivers license. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on how to improve our economy and support New Mexican families, former Governor Susana Martinez spent her entire time in office trying to make our state more hostile to immigrants. Although she did her best, she largely failed. But she did use her executive power whenever possible to make it difficult for all New Mexicans (not just immigrants) to get a drivers license. While a lawsuit by the ACLU-NM, Somos Un Pueblo Unido and other partners has finally made obtaining a Driving Authorization Card (DAC) much easier, there are still statutory changes need to reduce unnecessary barriers for New Mexicans seeking to get a drivers license. The current law is the product of the politicization of this issue by Martinez. Now that we have a new governor, it’s time to focus on policy over politics. This bill would eliminate a pointless fingerprinting requirement, and changes the name of the DAC to simply “driver’s license” to make it less stigmatized. It would also enact a host of other changes to ensure that the distinction between New Mexico’s REAL ID and non-REAL ID compliant drivers licenses isn’t needlessly confusing.

 

Sponsors

Sen Gerald Ortiz y Pino

Status

Won: new law

Session

2019

Bill number

SB 278

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