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The battle heats up

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Governor's license caper leads to court

By Hal Rhodes

Gov. Susana Martinez has been hauled into court again, although this time it’s Martinez’s Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla who is targeted in a case filed in Santa Fe state district court.
The suit cites Padilla for implementing the governor’s directive to dispatch some 10,000 letters seeking proof of residency from New Mexico licensed drivers presumed to be illegal immigrants.
Such licenses may be legally obtained by foreign nationals in New Mexico under a state law passed in 2003.
Martinez doesn’t like that law and promised to have it repealed during her campaign last year.
She failed in that effort at the 2011 Legislature, but is again seeking repeal at the special redistricting session underway at the Roundhouse.
Meanwhile, fearful lest illegals from other states slip into New Mexico and get themselves licensed, the governor has been trawling for the scofflaws by requiring recipients of Padilla’s letters to show up in Albuquerque or Las Cruces with proof of their residency in this enchanted land.
The suit was filed last week by a number of Democratic state lawmakers, along with perhaps the nation’s leading Latino civil rights group, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fun (MALDEF).


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