After weeks of wrangling and heated arguments, the New Mexico House of Representatives has finally passed legislation preventing illegal aliens from receiving the state's drivers licenses. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has been a vocal advocate of changing the state's laws and has made this bill one of her top objectives.
In previous weeks, both the Democratic-controlled Senate and House have rejected legislation and amendments that would have prevented illegal aliens, and other foreign nationals without proper identification, from receiving New Mexico drivers licenses. However, the outcry from New Mexico's voters has been so great that many Democrats in the House have been forced to relent, which allowed the legislation to pass 42-28.
After the legislation's passage, Gov. Martinez said:
Today, the will of the people of New Mexico was heard in the House of Representatives. Despite numerous procedural schemes to defend the status quo, a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and the House’s lone Independent came together to stand with an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans who want to see the dangerous practice of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants overturned. I hope the Senate will also listen to the people of New Mexico and give this bill an up-or-down vote.
However, not everyone was pleased with the bill's passage. House Majority Leader Ken Martinez said "polls shouldn't drive the Legislature's policy decisions. Many immigrants came to the U.S. legally, raised families and remained after the expiration of their immigration papers." And Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Milan) said, "The governor has stood up ... and waved her hands at the people and said, 'Let's take the driver's license away from this illegal immigrant. We aren't taking licenses away from illegal immigrants. We're taking licenses away from foreign nationals. But they're using the words 'illegal immigrant' because this is the way that we can make the boogeyman sound bad."
The Senate will next vote on the legislation and it faces even greater opposition there. NumbersUSA will keep you update on the events occuring in New Mexico.
Click here to read more about the New Mexico House's vote.
Updated: Mon, Mar 7th 2011 @ 6:55pm EST