FGGAM NEWS just received this news release from The New Mexico House Republican Caucus:
Michael Sanchez and Senate Democrats should bring driver’s license compromise to a vote on the Senate Floor, avoid “nuclear rhetoric”
Editorial: New Mexico needs Real ID deal, not nuclear rhetoric
By: Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
January 31, 2016
There are just 17½ days left in the 2016 legislative session. And instead of taking up the federally issued challenge at hand – to get the state into compliance with the Real ID Act so New Mexicans can continue to enter military bases, national labs and eventually board commercial airliners – some legislative Democrats have resorted to divisive, over-the-top histrionics.
The Republican-controlled House passed HB 99 Wednesday on a 39-30 vote, reserving driver’s licenses that can be used for federal identification purposes for legal residents and providing undocumented immigrants with a driving permit that cannot be. It is a significant compromise for the governor and many Republican lawmakers, who in prior sessions have honored the wishes of many constituents – a significant majority scientifically polled by Research and Polling for the Journal have repeatedly supported a straight repeal of the 2003 law that provides a driver’s license regardless of immigration status.
Those respondents are influenced, no doubt, by the fact the state has become a haven for driver’s license fraud, attracting perpetrators and victims from around the globe to come here for a gold-plated federal ID.
But instead of suggesting workable changes to HB 99, some lawmakers are giving performances that would embarrass Jerry Springer.
There’s Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, who likened HB 99 to the Nazi Holocaust, saying the legislation could result in people being put “in boxcars and take them somewhere that they don’t want to go.”
There’s Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, who went on Facebook to compare HB 99 to slavery. He wrote “for hundreds of years our legal system legitimized and sanctioned slavery and discrimination throughout the country. Today, House Republicans and Governor Martinez seek to legitimize discrimination against undocumented immigrants through their proposed legislation.”
And there’s Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, who said HB would make “indentured servants” out of undocumented immigrants.
Really? For a compromise many Democrats would have been happy to accept a year or two ago.
The current driver’s license system was approved – and has been retained – in large part because supporters argued it would ensure that everyone on the road, regardless of immigration status, was schooled on traffic laws, had insurance, and had the ability to legally drive their kids to school, their families to doctor appointments and themselves to work.
But the federal government has finally cracked down and made it clear that full-fledged driver’s licenses can no longer be issued to people in the country illegally.
HB 99 continues all the humanitarian reasons for allowing the licenses in the first place, albeit with a state driving permit rather than a full license compliant with requirements for federal identification.
This Holocaust/slavery/indentured servitude tirade by some House Democrats could migrate to the Senate. Or the Senate could come to grips with the fact that:
- Real ID was passed after 18 of 19 terrorists used state driver’s licenses to board and then crash commercial jetliners on 9/11.
- Many working New Mexicans need to access federal sites, yet the Department of Defense has announced New Mexico licenses are not sufficient ID for accessing its installations.
- Many working New Mexicans need to board commercial flights, yet in 2018 their licenses will no longer be deemed secure ID to do so and they will need to take the time and money to get passports. And,
- Ensuring driving privileges for undocumented immigrants is what legislative Democrats have advocated all along.
But instead of supporting a proposal they would have advocated, they instead have responded with a “Holocaust” rebuttal.
With just over two weeks left in the session, this issue needs to be resolved. At minimum, Senate leadership should allow this reasonable compromise to be put to a floor vote so New Mexico voters know where their legislator stands on the issue when casting ballots in November.
Continuing the inflamed rhetoric rather than rolling up their sleeves might not get them friended by some progressives on social media or quoted in the news media. But here is a fact: The grandstanding isn’t working for the majority of New Mexicans.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.