New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez issued an executive order this week that requires state law enforcement to question the immigration status of criminal suspects.
Martinez made national headlines last fall after being elected the first Latina governor in the nation’s history. Now, she has also become the latest player to endorse Arizona style anti-immigration.
The executive order eliminates a prior order by former Gov. Bill Richardson that prohibited law enforcement officers from soliciting information about a person’s immigration status.
State Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque had scathing words over the move calling it “a highly publicized form of a no-Mexican, no-dog-allowed placard.”
Fifteen Democratic legislators denounced the order on Thursday during a press conference at the state Capitol in Santa Fe. They accused Martinez of political posturing in order to appeal to hard-lining members of her party.
“She is pandering to a small minority outside of our state,” said state Sen. Eric Griego of Albuquerque.
Griego called attention to the fact that Martinez’s order was too broad and could potentially discourage victims of crimes and domestic violence from seeking police assistance. The lawmaker filed a bill Thursday banning officers from asking about immigration status.
Two other Democrats also said they would introduce bills that could undo at least parts of Martinez’s order.
Martinez’s spokesperson defended her position and said, “The governor’s executive order very clearly applies to criminals, while protecting witnesses, victims and anyone else who approaches law enforcement for assistance. The liberal politicians who attended today’s sanctuary rally are free to stand with the 12 percent of New Mexicans who support providing sanctuary for criminals who are in this country illegally.”
Democratic state Sen. Stephen Fischmann says the governor should instead focus on targeting employers and called it “patchwork policymaking at its worst.”
“Undocumented immigrants do difficult and demanding jobs that keep the economy going,” he said. “We’re being hypocrites. We want these people here, working.”