New Mexico Sen. Steve Fischmann’s Immigration Bill Presents More Problems Than Solutions

(ANTHONY, New Mexico) — In preparation for the New Mexico legislative session beginning January 17th Senator Steve Ficshmann pre-filed an updated guest worker bill that is deeply flawed.

The Border Network for Human Rights has analyzed the bill and is reviewing its consequences in all its Human Rights Committees throughout Dona Ana County.

Some major provisions of the bill include a guest worker program, guest worker fund, a family registry system and screening through the controversial “S-Comm” program, a driving privilege card for immigrants, and benefits screening.

If passed by state legislators and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, the bill would not take effect unless the federal government agrees to allow New Mexico to implement the law at all.

BNHR recognizes that attempts at regulating immigration at the state level is patently unconstitutional.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing states that have passed immigration policy. It is unlikely that DOJ or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will grant any waivers to states allowing state-based immigration policies.

This development should be another alert to Congress and the President that a comprehensive Federal solution can no longer wait.

Aside from the legal implications, many provisions of the bill are very controversial:

Employer Sanctions: Mandatory “E-Verify” for employers and creation of a NM-Verify system.

Dragnet Enforcement Approach: Codifies and expands “S-Comm,” a program that remains under federal investigation and has been suspended in some jurisdictions, such as Arizona.

Allows for Discrimination: Differentiated Drivers Licenses for immigrants creates opportunity for profiling.

Arizona and Maricopa County are examples of how state based immigration laws allow for abuses of civil and constitutional abuses by local officials.  County Sheriffs practiced racial profiling and targeted Hispanics because they felt they could.

New Mexico Can Do Better than Arizona.

BNHR believes that one community cannot be sacrificed for another.  New Mexico should not go backwards and treat one segment of the community as second class.  All New Mexicans will prosper when immigrants are fully integrated into the social, economic and political systems.

It is given that the impetus for this bill was the fabricated crisis that the Governor created regarding drivers license for immigrants.  We believe that a license to drive has nothing to do with immigration.  Attempts by some law makers to ‘compromise’ with the Governor are a dangerous gamble.

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