Customs, Border and Immigration News

New Mexico Will Allow Illegal Migrants To Obtain Law Licenses

New Mexico will allow illegal migrants to obtain law licenses by waiving consideration of applicants’ immigration status, the state’s Supreme Court said Monday.

Applicants still have to graduate law school, pass the bar exam and undergo character vetting, according to the rule. Applicants previously had to provide proof of citizenship, permanent resident status or work authorization for the licenses.

The rule change will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Federal law permits states to pass laws allowing illegal migrants to obtain occupational licenses. Several states permit illegal migrants and Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to obtain state drivers and occupational licenses, such as in Illinois.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), a nonprofit taking legal action to ensure American border security, says the decision is “yet another move to dilute the value of U.S. citizenship.”

“The end result is that there will be virtually no advantage or incentive to do the work to become a citizen legally. American culture and institutions will continue to decay with actions like this,” The executive director and general counsel of IRLI, Dale L. Wilcox, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The change in the licensure rule is grounded in the fundamental principle of fairness, and is consistent with New Mexico’s historical values of inclusion and diversity,” New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Shannon Bacon said, according to the Associated Press.

Bacon said that the decision was a result of the American Bar Association and similar moves in eight other states, according to the AP.

“It is great to see that New Mexico is joining a number of other states in allowing individuals who are waiting on federal action to continue to be contributing state citizens in their profession,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Immediate Past President Allen Orr told the DCNF.

The state judiciary has licensed some residents that are part of the DACA program, according to the AP. A federal judge in Texas ruled that DACA was illegal in 2021, issuing a stay pending appeal at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The Biden administration is appealing the Texas judge’s ruling, according to Bloomberg. A New York district court judge recently rejected DACA recipients’ request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enroll new applicants.

Over 1,900,000 migrants have been encountered at the southern border since October, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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