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Supporters of immigrants’ driver’s licenses rally at Capitol before redistricting session starts

New Mexicans from border areas rallied at the Capitol today and delivered petitions in support of the state law that allows immigrants, including those who are undocumented, to get driver’s licenses.

Gov. Susana Martinez is asking lawmakers to repeal the law while they’re meeting in a special session that was scheduled to begin at noon. The focus of the session is redistricting, but the governor has a list of other issues for legislators to consider.

Speakers at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda said because of the law, more drivers are licensed and insured, making highways safer. And they said repealing the law would hurt the state’s economy, because unlicensed immigrants would buy less gasoline and would be afraid to drive to stores or restaurants.

Supporters of the current law include the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged the governor to compromise on the issue.

Lonnie Clayton, from Rio Rancho, left, and other Tea Party members from around the state gathered outside the Roundhouse to protest conservative issues. The was before the start of the special session of the N.M. Legislature in Santa Fe Tuesday, September 6, 2011. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)