Immigrant licenses jump before law change

REAL ID

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The number of immigrants seeking driver’s licenses in New Mexico surged during the first three months of the year.

Data obtained by The Associated Press through a records request showed 3,568 licenses were issued to foreign nationals from January to March.

That’s just shy of the 4,026 licenses granted to foreign nationals for all of 2015.

State officials believe the spike came because immigrants in the country illegally wanted to get New Mexico driver’s licenses before state lawmakers voted to revise the law.

Officials do not know how many licenses went to such immigrants because applicants aren’t required to submit information on immigration status.

In March, Gov. Susana Martinez signed a law that allows immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to only obtain driver’s authorization cards.

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