MALDEF Secures Preliminary Injunction in New Mexico Driver's License Lawsuit

Judge finds equal protection rights of foreign nationals likely violated

SANTA FE, NM - MALDEF has secured a preliminary injunction against the New Mexico Secretary of Tax and Revenue's so-called "Residency Certification Program" on the grounds that the Secretary has likely violated the right to equal protection under the New Mexico Constitution. The injunction would remain in effect until the lawsuit challenging the program is finally resolved. To allow time for the preliminary injunction to be issued, Judge Singleton of the First Judicial District in Santa Fe has extended for another week the temporary restraining order issued on August 31, which prohibits all aspects of the unlawful re-certification program.

The court, however, will allow the State to continue with investigations into a small number of already-mailed letters that have been returned to the Department as undeliverable. MALDEF intends to submit further briefing to the court on the limited investigation. The court has ordered the parties to submit a preliminary injunction in one week.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated "This court decision should serve as a warning to the Governor and Secretary that they should follow the law as set by the Legislature and cease attempts to implement their own anti-immigrant policy agenda."

David Hinojosa, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel, stated "Today's ruling bolsters MALDEF's resolve to fight this unlawful program that unfairly targets immigrants in the state. While today's victory is a significant step toward righting the wrong of this unlawful program, we will continue to fight until the last vestiges of this anti-immigrant program no longer threaten the Latino community."

The court held a preliminary injunction hearing today on New Mexico's anti-Latino driver's license re-certification program. MALDEF attorneys and co-counsel, who obtained the temporary restraining order (TRO) on August 31, presented arguments in the hearing.

On behalf of a group of New Mexico legislators and residents of New Mexico, MALDEF and the New Mexico law firm of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan filed suit on August 24, 2011 against the Secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, seeking to stop the targeting of immigrants in the state.

On August 31, Judge Singleton issued the temporary restraining order, which prohibits all aspects of the unlawful re-certification program until the preliminary injunction is issued.

For more information on the Temporary Restraining Order, visit HERE

A copy of the signed Temporary Restraining Order can be accessed HERE

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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