Court Enjoins New Mexico's Foreign National Residency Certification Program

"Immigrant advocates in New Mexico praised a court settlement announced last week that effectively laid to rest a controversial driver’s license certification program implemented by the state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) last year.  In a mutually-agreed upon resolution to a legal challenge filed against the program, New Mexico First Judicial District Judge Sarah M. Singleton issued a permanent injunction against Demesia Padilla, secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, ordering the state official [to refrain] from further carrying out the Foreign National Residency Certification Program, which was officially launched to weed out undocumented, non-residents who claimed New Mexico residency in order to obtain a state driver’s license.  Certification opponents charged that the program had a different purpose.  “This discriminatory program was clearly intended to fuel an anti-immigrant political agenda in New Mexico, and we are relieved that it did not prevail,” said Maria Cristina Lopez, board member of the statewide immigrant and labor advocacy group Somos un Pueblo Unido.  “We’re all for fighting fraud and abuse, but the state should not be wasting tax payer money by targeting people based on their race and national origin. It’s simply unacceptable in New Mexico,” Lopez said in a statement.  Allen Sanchez, director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined with Somos in hailing Judge Singleton’s order." - Kent Paterson, Oct. 7, 2012.