In Case You Missed It
Senator Michael Sanchez Continues to Defend The Dangerous Law That Gives Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Immigrants
Sanchez: Immigrant driver’s license repeal won’t make it to Senate floor next session
The Associated Press
By: Russell Contreras
RIO COMMUNITIES, New Mexico — Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says any GOP-sponsored bill aimed at repealing New Mexico’s immigrant driver’s license law won’t make it to the Senate floor next session. Again.
One of state’s most powerful Democratic legislators told The Associated Press on Tuesday that even if it did, there wouldn’t be enough votes to pass the proposal supported by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
“If it comes up again, I can guarantee you it won’t make it to the floor,” said Sanchez, D-Belen. “And if it does it won’t pass.”
Sanchez made the remarks while attending a “meeting your legislators” event in the city of Rio Communities and during a tour of the city’s building.
Martinez campaigned last year on repealing a state law that allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to obtain New Mexico driver’s licenses. She said the law opens up New Mexico to fraud and has pressured lawmakers to get rid of the law, citing polls suggesting around 60 percent of state residents want it repealed.
But since taking office, the proposal has failed a number of times to pass the State Legislature thanks to rallies and lobbying efforts by immigrant rights advocacy groups. They cite their other polls that suggest state residents also support a compromise on keeping the driver’s license law with new anti-fraud efforts.
It’s unclear if Martinez would push the issue during the next session — a budget one — which is scheduled to last only 30 days.
Sanchez said the repeal is just one of the many “wedge issues” pushed by Martinez. He said the administration and Republican lawmakers refused to support a last-minute compromise that would have created to two-tier system.
Martinez spokesman Mike Lonergan said the governor will continue to press for a solution on the law and dismissed the Democrats proposal.
“The Democrats’ bill would continue the dangerous practice of giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants,” Lonergan said. “Unfortunately, the Democrat Senate boss is essentially saying that he has no interest in listening to the overwhelming majority of New Mexicans who feel that this dangerous law should be repealed.”
In addition, the Republican Party of New Mexico said it wasn’t surprised by Sanchez’s comments and have made it public that he is one of the Democrats being targeted in their attempt to capture the New Mexico Senate in 2016.
“During the last legislative session, Senator Sanchez promised to block legislation from day one and now he plans to do it again and defend a dangerous law that gives driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — a law that over 60 percent of New Mexicans want to see repealed,” Republican Party of New Mexico spokesman Pat Garrett said.