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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GPSA backs immigrant licenses

Supporters cite necessity of proper identification for everyday activities, including life at UNM

assistant-news@dailylobo.com
@ChloeHenson5

The graduate student government expressed their support of undocumented students at a council meeting on Saturday.

UNM’s Graduate and Professional Student Association at UNM passed a resolution that supports all students being granted state-issued driver’s licenses, including undocumented students.

Christopher Ramirez, a graduate student, said he was part of the UNM Dream Team and the Raza Graduate Student Association, which both introduced and supported the resolution.

During his presentation time, Ramirez discussed undocumented graduate students at UNM, current ID laws for undocumented immigrants and the need for a government-issued driver’s license.

“Think about all of the things that you have to do to show an ID, including getting your Lobo ID here at the University,” he said.

Last semester, Ramirez and the Dream Team presented a resolution that called for allowing students here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act from out of state to qualify for in-state tuition. GPSA and the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico passed the resolution.

On Jan. 17, New Mexico Rep. Paul Pacheco, a Republican representing Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, introduced House Bill 127, which would create a two-tiered driver’s license system, according to the New Mexico Legislature site. The proposed bill would require two licenses to be issued, one for New Mexico residents that could be used for “official federal purposes,” and another that would not be accepted by federal agencies for such purposes.

People here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act would be eligible for the non-official license.

The resolution passed in GPSA with one vote against and two abstentions.

“One of the missions of the University is supporting minorities,” said Council Rep. Karol Ibara Zetter, who voted in favor of the resolution.

GPSA Council Rep. Luke Holmen, the only dissenting vote, said that while he agrees that the resolution would support undocumented students at UNM, he didn’t think the resolution would be representative of all student opinions.

“I think this is a highly political question, and so I’m not sure if we represent the entirety of students if we pass this resolution, that their point of views would be expressed,” he said. “So I’m cautious to suggest that we send this to the Legislature, just because I think we should represent a unified front on behalf of everyone.”

Chief of Staff Matthew Rush and Council Rep. Jessica Marshall were the two abstentions.

GPSA will forward the resolution to the Gov. Susana Martinez’s office, the New Mexico State Legislature, the UNM Board of Regents, the UNM President the UNM Office of Government and Community Relations, the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Martinez is planning to attempt a repeal of the 2003 law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Martinez said the law has made New Mexico “a magnet for identification fraud,” according to the article.

Martinez has created a petition on join.susanamartinez.com to repeal the 2003 license law.

The cut-off date for submitting a new bill for the 2014 legislative session is Feb. 5.