New Mexico Passes Bills To Aid Illegal Aliens During COVID-19 Pandemic
FAIR Take | April 2021
New Mexico enacted occupational licensing and taxpayer-funded indigent care for illegal aliens prior to adjourning its 2021 legislative session on March 20th, While New Mexico had previously enacted numerous radical immigration policies such as driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for illegal aliens, it had been relatively quiet on the immigration front for a few years.
Leading the push on immigration bills this session were Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo) and Representative Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo). Sen. Ortiz y Pino introduced legislation to expand eligibility for illegal aliens to receive occupational and professional licenses. His bill to grant illegal aliens licenses to work in the United States coincides with a time when New Mexico’s unemployment rate is the fifth highest in the nation.
Senate Bill (SB) 219 sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D–Bernalillo) would:
- Remove proof of citizenship or legal residency to obtain a license for certain professionals;
- Allow for the submission of an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), which is what the IRS issues to illegal aliens in order to collect taxes from them since they don’t qualify for Social Security Numbers (SSNs); and
- Allow those in the country illegally to obtain occupational licenses that include such jobs as pawnbrokers, insurers and adjusters, bail bondsmen, employee leasing contractors, optometrists, physical therapists, collection agencies, home inspectors, real estate brokers, and real estate appraisers and trainees, and even some medical licenses, among others.
The bill passed by a shocking 36-1 vote in the Senate. Only Senator William Burt (R-Alamogordo) voted against. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 45 – 23.
In the House, Rep. Martinez introduced language to include illegal aliens under the Affordable Care Act’s indigent care provision, which is healthcare for citizens who do not have health insurance and who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. This is more than just showing up at the emergency room where hospitals have to treat everyone. It allows illegal aliens to receive taxpayer-funded care for primary, preventative, and some specialty services.
House Bill (HB) 112 sponsored by Representative Javier Martinez (D – Bernalillo):
- Provides eligibility for illegal aliens to receive indigent care from the health care assistance fund; and
- Requires county hospitals and contracting hospitals to provide taxpayer-funded indigent care to all non-citizens domiciled within the county regardless of immigration status;
The bill passed in the House by a vote of 45 – 23.
Bills passed this session have until April 9th to be signed or they will result in a pocket veto, which occurs 20 days after the legislative session has ended if the governor has not signed or vetoed a bill. If the governor does not take any action, it is considered automatically vetoed. However, with these immigration bills, it is anticipated that Gov. Lujan Grisham will sign them into law.