After Susana Martinez signed an executive order empowering state police to inquire about the immigration status of criminals, while at the same time “protecting victims and witnesses of criminal acts,” New Mexico Democrats accused America’s first Latina governor of “[promoting] racial profiling” and attempting to emulate Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070. Martinez’s new policy is very different from the Arizona approach, as her office has stated: “state police will not ask about immigration status of motorists stopped for traffic violations such as speeding.”
The new law, however, is similar to that in another locale: San Francisco. Is that left-wing paradise by the bay also promoting racial profiling?
Martinez’s executive order, which was published January 31, 2011, rescinded sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes within the state. Similar in nature to the Secure Communities program being overseen by the Obama administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Martinez’s decree directs state law enforcement to check the immigration status of all those arrested for committing crimes.
Included among the 37 states and 969 jurisdictions that participate in the Secure Communities program is none other than San Francisco.
And the Martinez order is not a remotely controversial issue among the electorate in New Mexico, as a poll last year found more than 80 percent of voters support the governor’s position. The Albuquerque Journal reported, “Albuquerque’s policy, which requires that immigration status be checked for all people who are booked into jail, was extremely popular, with 84 percent saying they favored it. Twelve percent opposed it, 2 percent had mixed feelings, and 2 percent didn’t know or wouldn’t say.”
Yet one state legislator claimed that “[Martinez] is pandering to a small minority of people from outside our state.”
As Mark Twain once famously wrote, “it is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
By comparing Martinez’s executive order to SB 1070 and denying its support among New Mexicans, Democrats in the state legislature have removed all doubt.