SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez made the following statement after the New Mexico House of Representatives approved a “blast-out” motion to allow floor debate for a bill that would ban driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. The motion, led by Rep. Andy Nuñez (DTS-Hatch) was approved by a vote of 36-34. Rep. Dona Irwin (D-Deming) and Rep. Sandra Jeff (D-Crownpoint) broke ranks with the majority to approve the measure.
"Today, Republicans, Democrats, and the House's only Independent ensured that New Mexicans will get the up-or-down vote on a bill they have repeatedly demanded be passed,” said Governor Martinez. “I applaud House members, especially the two Democrats, who courageously stood up to Speaker Ben Lujan and stood with New Mexicans who want this dangerous law repealed." Some observers expressed surprise that Representative Joseph Cervantes did not also break ranks with Jeff and Irwin. Cervantes went on the record recently during an interview on News New Mexico as being in support of ending the practice of issuing driver's licenses to those who have entered the U.S. illegally. Other Democrats speaking off the record have also said they wish to end the practice. But all were facing enormous pressure from the Lujan regime to look the other way and allow the proposal to be killed in committees. More than a few of the 34 losing votes cast were probably cast with the assumption that no Democrat would break rank.