Judge Blocks New Mexico Driver's Licenses Verification Plan

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
September 01, 2011

Photo courtesy State of New Mexico.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.
A New Mexico district judge on Wednesday blocked a law that would have made it difficult for undocumented immigrants to keep their driver’s license. The ruling thwarts a move by the state’s republican governor, who wants to overturn the current state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order against the state’s "residency verification plan." The judge ruled the law would cause irreparable harm to the applicants.

Under the plan, the state mailed 10,000 notices over the summer to foreign nationals with driver’s licenses notifying that they must prove - in person - their residency in the state.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has said the law is necessary to weed out fraud in a system that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

A spokesperson for Martinez said the judge’s decision is standard procedure as the court looks to thoroughly examine the program.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), along with local attorneys, filed a lawsuit August 24th seeking to end the practice, calling it unconstitutional.