It may not seem like the illegal immigration debate has an effect on New Mexico car insurance, but it does. New Mexico has a long history of immigrants migrating across the Mexican/United States border both legally and illegally. While the government does want it can to catch illegally immigrants and deport them back home, the sheer volume in this state makes it difficult to do. How does this affect car insurance? Being illegal means those individuals must remain undocumented to protect themselves and their families.
Obtaining official documents, such as a driver’s license in order to drive, could be difficult. That’s one of the reasons why in 2003 the state legislation approved a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses in order to legally drive. New Mexico already hasn’t the highest rate in the country, 29%, of uninsured drivers. The hope when this bill passed was the immigrant drivers would do the right thing and obtain a driver’s license, which would allow them to purchase car insurance. Not having these is an extra burden on the state due to the high cost of uninsured and unlicensed drivers. Not only do claims and auto insurance premiums go up when the amount of uninsured drivers increase, but the cost of persecuting unlicensed and uninsured drivers goes up as well.
New Mexico is one of only two states in America that will allow an illegal immigrant to obtain a driver’s license. There is debate amongst New Mexico residents, and others around the country watching New Mexico, regarding whether or not this enables and encourage illegal immigration or is a smart move towards ensuring public safety and governmental cost management.
The Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez has suggested reversing this law. As part of her campaign to become governor, Martinez promised to eliminate licenses for illegals. Her pursuit of this agenda has been met with opposition by the Democrat majority in the New Mexico legislation.
Recent information from the New Mexico Insurance Division also suggests that this law encourages fraud. Those seeking a driver’s license must give a valid address but some addresses are being used to frequently to be legitimate. With as many as 48 individual claiming to reside at the same business, data points to the fact that many are lying to obtain their license. Another argument suggests that obtaining a New Mexico license is a springboard to being able to obtain other official documentation elsewhere and could be used to disguise illegal activity as well.