Susana Martinez: There’s a lot of space between amnesty and deportations

posted at 1:21 pm on February 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I’m personally hoping we’ll be hearing a lot more on the national level from New Mexico’s popular Republican Governor Susana Martinez over the next few years here. I thought hers was one of the most poignant, resonating speeches at the Republican National Convention, and her status as a high-profile Latina conservative means she has major potential to become a leading voice as the GOP looks to make itself more approachable; her background plus her border-state governorship could become especially important as the immigration debate continues to percolate.

On that note, what are Gov. Martinez’s thoughts on the Rubio-led bipartisan Senate plan looking to make some moves on an immigration overhaul? I doubt she wants to appear too critical or play the role of divisive instigator, and while she applauded the nature of the effort, let’s just say she declined to come out swinging in favor of their specific plan. National Journal reports:

But while she praised Republicans on Capitol Hill for seeking an overhaul of a “broken” immigration system, Martinez on Wednesday advocated the traditional view of her party’s conservative base: secure the border above all else. Martinez also defended her proposed repeal of a state law that allows undocumented workers to obtain drivers licenses, an effort that has drawn angry protests from pro-immigrant activists.

“We always go to immigration as though it is the only issue Hispanic voters or candidates care about,” Martinez said during a conference call with reporters as a co-chair of the Future Majority Caucus, a Republican initiative to elect minority officeholders at the state level. “We’re not single-issue voters.” …

“There’s a lot of space between amnesty and even talking about deporting 11 or 12 million people,” Martinez said Wednesday. …

“I really want to emphasize that when we have candidates that are discussing the immigration issue, certainly we always have to have that conversation in a sincere manner,” she said Wednesday. …

She definitely isn’t alone in her non-endorsement of the Senate plan; back in D.C., the House GOP still isn’t so keen on the whole idea, and Boehner, though also praising the effort, is insisting that they aren’t going to rush a gigantic immigration overhaul through Congress — however quickly President Obama might desire that we “get this done.”

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