Judge temporarily blocks New Mexico license verification program
A state District Court judge in Santa Fe issued Wednesday a temporary restraining order against the license residency verification program for foreign nationals. The matter is still under review, but District Court Judge Sarah Singleton cited, “Irreparable injury will occur in the form of constitutional deprivations” if the program were to continue.
The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund and Albuquerque law firm Freedman Boyd filed suit last week on behalf of four state legislators and a Silver City woman. They argued that the program, which asks foreign nationals with driver’s licenses to verify their New Mexico residency in person with the Motor Vehicle Department in Albuquerque or Las Cruces, violated the state and federal constitutions’ guarantees of equal protection and that Gov. Martinez lacked authority in issuing an executive order effectively asking foreign nationals to reapply for driver’s licenses.
Meanwhile, Gov. Martinez’ office remained sanguine: “This procedural step is fairly standard as the court examines the residency certification program,” Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said in a statement.