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Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday that the Motor Vehicle Division sent letters to 10,000 foreign nationals with state driver's licenses to request proof of residency. Letter recipients will have 30 days to contact the MVD and schedule an in-person appointment to verify their New Mexican address.
According to the guv's July 19 news release, there are about 85,000 foreign nationals with N.M. driver's licenses. The letters were sent to one-eighth of them, selected at random.
Martinez is seeking data on the percentage of driver’s licenses that have been issued to people from other countries who are no longer residents of New Mexico, according to the news release. If results indicate many licenses are held by nonresidents, the Tax and Revenue Division and the MVD will investigate the residency of more people.
Since passing a 2003 law, New Mexico is one of two states that allows drivers to obtain licenses without a Social Security number. The other state, Washington, permits residents to sign a declaration of their legal foreign worker status to obtain a license. Although Utah allows undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses, they cannot be used for identification purposes.
Since Martinez took office earlier this year she has fought to repeal policies that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Advocates of the practice argue that licensing is beneficial for public safety and the economy.