Catholic bishops support driver's license law

Posted

By Milan Simonich The Santa Fe New Mexican Wednesday, January 22, 2014
 SANTA FE--Gov. Susana Martinez for four years has pressed to repeal the law that enables people without proof of immigration status to obtain a state driver's license.

At the opposite spectrum, the Conference of Catholic Bishops has been outspoken in support of the law.

The conference includes Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Bishop Oscar Cantu of the Diocese of Las Cruces and Bishop James S. Wall of the Diocese of Gallup.

Sheehan and Wall have publicly defended the licensing law. Cantu, a first-year bishop, will join the others Wednesday at the 23rd annual legislative breakfast.

With Martinez sitting nearby, Sheehan last year raised what he called “the famous issue of the driver’s licenses.”

The archbishop said the merit of licensing undocumented immigrants often was lost in the controversy about it.

He even read a letter from a boy named Cesar Quesada, who had cancer for 11 of his 17 years.

Quesada, a resident of the United States since age 3, said the licensing law enabled his parents to drive him lawfully to his treatments for chemotherapy in Albuquerque. He underwent eight rounds of chemo and 17 surgeries.

The privilege of their being able to drive made his life a bit easier, the boy wrote. He said he knew that some might abuse the licensing law, but said it helped his family and others.

Quesada died in 2012.

Martinez calls the licensing law "dangerous." The bishops say it is rooted in humanity.