GOP lawmaker shifts stance on immigrant licenses, proposes 2-tier system

State Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, right, said he will introduce a bill modeled after a 2005 Utah law that provides a two-tier system for immigrant driver’s licenses. Jane Phillips/New Mexican file photo

State Rep. Paul Pacheco, who had been one of the staunchest opponents of the law that allows people lacking proof of immigration status to obtain a New Mexico driver’s license, has softened his position. He now advocates a compromise that would provide driving privilege cards to undocumented immigrants.

Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, said he will introduce a bill modeled after a 2005 Utah law that provides a two-tier driver’s license system. Utah residents with the privilege cards are allowed to drive, but in most cases these cards aren’t recognized by federal agencies as valid identification to pass through airport security or enter a secure federal building such as a courthouse.

“I’m hopeful,” Pacheco, a retired police officer, told The Associated Press. “I don’t know if it will have the support or if the governor will support it, but I’m going to try.”



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