New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, who has opposed laws that would help illegal immigrants, admitted earlier this week that her paternal grandparents came to the U.S. without documents, a disclosure that has immigration and religious groups crying foul.
I know they arrived without documents, especially my grandfather, my father's father, Martinez said in a Spanish interview on Wednesday with KLUZ-TV, an affiliate of Univision. In those days, the law was very different.
National immigrant group leaders have expressed regret that Martinez does not seem to want to help other Latinos.
Her grandparents shared the same story of many undocumented people, Brent Wilkes, the national executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based League of United Latin American Citizens told Reuters. It's a sad day that the governor has chosen to turn her back on the same sacrifices she has benefited from. This is not the governor's finest hour.
Twitter soon became aflame with sarcastic remarks of whether Martinez's grandparents' status jeopardized her own.
Hey Susana Martinez, can we please see your birth certificate?? one woman Tweeted, adding that she was not convinced that the NM governor was a U.S. citizen.
Martinez's governor Web site notes that she is the first Latina governor in U.S. history.
She has come under fire for her immigration views. She tried to repeal a law earlier this year that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driving licenses. The effort failed, but she plans to bring the issue up again, the Associated Press reported.
Religious groups in New Mexico are working to fight this particular piece of legislation.
We draw our inspiration from scripture, Nancy Phillips, a member of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice told the AP. The Hebrew prophets in the Old Testament said if you wanted to get right with God, you have to help the poor, you have to help the stranger. That's what we're doing.
Martinez's communications director Scott Darnell addressed the issues brought up in the television interview.
It's unfortunate that some are choosing to personally attack the governor, but these tactics prove that supporters of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants have run out of legitimate defenses for a bad policy, he said, the AP reported.