New Mexico is an attractive alternative, for several reasons beyond its proximity next door. New Mexico, unlike Arizona, issues driver licenses to undocumented immigrants who live there and have ID cards from the Mexican consulate (indeed, the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue, which oversees the Motor Vehicle Department, reports a 30 percent increase in the number of new licenses issued by the state this spring over the same time period last year. Asked whether this might be due to a migration from Arizona, S.U. Mahesh, the spokesman for the New Mexico MVD, said, “We can’t speculate.”).
And New Mexico also allows unauthorized migrants to pay in-state college tuition, while Arizona bars most unauthorized immigrants from attending college by forcing them to pay expensive out-of-state tabs.
What’s more, immigrants feel safer in New Mexico, because unlike the Grand Canyon State on its western border, it has not enacted human-smuggling and employer-sanctions laws that have criminalized hundreds of them for working or travelling through Arizona.