DON’T WRECK WHAT’S WORKING KEEP ALL
DRIVERS IN NEW MEXICO LICENSED
In 2003, community and faith groups, victims’ rights advocates, and law enforcement officials came together
to promote a law allowing all residents of New Mexico, regardless of immigration status, to apply for a
driver’s license. Since then, about 80,000 immigrants have successfully applied, taking the eye, written and
road exams, registering their vehicles, and purchasing auto insurance. Some politicians have recently called
for the repeal of this law. This would have disastrous consequences for public safety in New Mexico.
Licensing all qualified drivers is working for our state
The current law improves public safety
- With a license, immigrants are more likely to stay or render aid at the scene of an accident and exchange insurance information.
- Immigrants are more likely to cooperate with police when being cited for moving violations, make court appearances, and pay fines for traffic violations.
- Victims and witness are more likely to call the police and participate in investigations. Victims also need a valid ID to go to court and request restraining orders.
Strengthens efforts to prevent DWI’s and underage drinking
- All immigrants under the age of 25 must take a DWI prevention course and pass an exam before applying for a driver’s license.
- The state can now keep track of immigrants’ DWI violations, sentencing compliance, revocations, etc.
- Since 2003, New Mexico has seen a big decrease in alcohol-related crashes, injuries, and deaths.
- Alcohol and tobacco vendors can more accurately determine a person’s age using a state issued drivers’ license rather than foreign documents.
Provides important tools for law enforcement and supports officer safety
- During stops or investigations, police can quickly identify immigrants and check their record without having to examine documents in foreign languages. This makes officers safer and more efficient.
- Local, state and federal law enforcement can track outstanding warrants, repeat offenders, child support delinquents, and citations of individuals who do not have social security numbers.
- All law enforcement, including federal immigration agents, can access MVD records to obtain photos, information, and last known addresses for individuals with outstanding arrest warrants.
Benefits the economy
- The uninsured motorist rate has decreased from 21% in 2003 to about 9% today, saving all New Mexicans in insurance premiums.
- Immigrants without socials contributed well over $17 million to MVD in license and registration fees.
- In order to obtain an ITIN, an immigrant must file their federal income taxes. Immigrants also use the ITIN to pay state income taxes, contributing millions to New Mexico’s tax base.