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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

US Senator Fred Harris Write's Letter to NM Reps re: Driver's License Law

FredHarrisSomos Un Pueblo Unido shared this letter with democracyforNM. Esteemed statesman US Senator Fred Harris wrote the following letter to all House Democrats regarding the Foreign National's Driver's License Law being debated once again in our 2012 State Legislature.  

February 7, 2012

Dear Representative,

Before I went to the U. S. Senate, I served in Oklahoma’s state legislature, so I know how tough your job is. I am writing to thank you for all you do on behalf of all New Mexicans and to offer my observations as to how a national Republican political agenda is being forced on New Mexicans.

It’s my observation that the foreign national driver’s license issue has become the “gateway” for other negative efforts against immigrants. No question, the current law has some flaws and we need to find ways to address the fraud problem. We seem to be in the age of no compromise in Washington and, now, with this administration here in Santa Fe, too.

New Mexico is not Arizona, and we don’t want to be. So, we should guard against any prejudice-driven or politically motivated efforts (like the Governor’s residency reverification program that cost taxpayers $177,000) that seek only to divide our communities. I was concerned by an article in the Albuquerque Journal, toward the end of the special session, that reported an out-of-state group with a radical history and a discriminatory nature, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), has committed resources to assist the Governor in her effort to repeal the foreign national’s driver’s license law.

Just last week, Governor Martinez again refused to agree to any compromise or alternative legislation. The Governor’s approach stalls progress on addressing the foundational issue- dealing with potential fraud. Any of us who have been involved in the legislative process know without meaningful compromise and thoughtful discussion, good public policy cannot be implemented.

The issue in 2012 should be: “Who focused on the real problems of fraud and keeping insured motorists on the road, while allowing for law enforcement at all levels to access a database of foreign nationals?” Wedge issues have been used against us before, and now is not the time to allow the driver’s license issue to undermine the important advances New Mexico has made for individual safety.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll shows that 64% of New Mexicans support a compromise proposal that would subject foreign nationals to additional residency requirements and finger printing, while still allowing them to receive a driver’s license. That’s the way we should go—and stop this constant attack on immigrants, because it’s just wrong.

Thanks for letting me express my support for all you do.


February 8, 2012 at 06:34 AM in Immigration, Legal Issues, Minority Issues, NM Legislature 2012 | Permalink


Well said, Senator. Thank you very much.

I hope it is not just wasted on the legislature. Sadly, the Governor just wants to act like a bully about this. Very sad.

Posted by: bg | Feb 8, 2012 8:39:58 AM