NM Governor Upset with Illegal Immigrant License Bill

March 9, 2011 - 5:08 PM

Santa Fe, N.M. (AP) - A politically charged fight is brewing in New Mexico over whether the state should continue to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

A state Senate committee on Tuesday overhauled a House-passed bill that would have stopped the practice. The Senate bill would keep licenses for illegal immigrants but establish tougher penalties for obtaining a license fraudulently.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez says the Senate's measure is a sham. She contends issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants is a security risk. Others say the state's current policy allows illegal immigrants to obtain auto insurance and lessens their fear in reporting crimes.

It's uncertain whether the bill will come up for debate Wednesday in the Democrat-controlled Senate.