I stayed up until almost midnight last night watching the debate on the Senate floor over HB78, the bill aimed at revoking drivers license’s from undocumented New Mexicans. I commend the Democrats who amended HB78 into a more humane bill. Next, I anticipate NM representatives and senators will be forced to debate over legislation aimed at revoking the lottery scholarship from undocumented students.
All of the recent legislation targeting immigrants makes me shiver. I feel that a certain “mania” has entered New Mexico, a panic triggered by racism and fear. This state has always been known as a “sanctuary state,” a place where everyone is welcome and safe regardless of nationality, race or religion. Increasingly, this has begun to change. Bills have entered the House and Senate that are harsh on immigrant’s, and leave room for unfair racial profiling of citizens.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of people coming into the United States from Mexico are simply in search of a better future for themselves and their families. Mexico is in crisis right now, the drug cartels have taken over and innocent people are dying. Mexican immigrants, whether legal or not, have left a dangerous situation behind them. In fact, it is strange to me that they are not being granted refugee status by the United States.
This is no longer simply an issue of immigration, but an issue of human rights. Should we be deporting people back to a country where there is a good chance of them being murdered? Especially those immigrants who were brought here as children and have been living in the United States for years.
Immigrants are a large demographic in New Mexico. Depriving them of driver’s license’s and education is not going to solve anything, it will simply create a second class of residents and legalize oppression in our state. This is the opposite of what New Mexico needs. We should be educating and promoting the health of everyone living here in order to encourage constructive progress and ingenuity within our state.
Lucia Martinez,17, Albuquerque, NM