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New Mexico Policy

Updated As Of: April 6, 2017

  • The state of New Mexico offers in-state tuition and financial aid to undocumented students through SB 582.
    • SB 582 | In-State Tuition Student Eligibility Requirements
      • Attended New Mexico middle or high school for at least one year
      • Graduated from a high school or received their GED in the state of New Mexico
    State-funded financial aid is granted to all residents of New Mexico on the same terms and regardless of immigration status, provided they meet the criteria listed above.
  • SB 582 was passed and signed into law in 2005.  It makes all qualified residents of New Mexico eligible for in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid, regardless of immigration status. SB 582 also prohibits public post-secondary educational institutions from denying admissions based on immigration status.
  • Since its passage, New Mexico legislators have unsuccessfully tried to repeal SB 582. For example, SB 749 would have revoked in-state tuition for undocumented students, but failed to pass in 2006.
  • Under HB 173, undocumented immigrants can obtain state IDs and driver’s licenses if they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.  New Mexico and Washington are the only states that do not require “not valid for identification purposes” to be printed on undocumented immigrants’ driver's licenses.
  • SB 111, introduced in 2003, would have prohibited state and local law enforcement from apprehending individuals whose sole charge was their legal status.
  • For the past 4 years Governor Martinez has attempted to revoke the ability for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and state IDs.  
  • In 2011 both the House and Senate passed a version of HB 78 but were unable to pass a compromise of the two bills. In 2012 a bill to this effect passed the House but died in the Senate, and in 2013 a similar bill died in committee.
  • ACLU of New Mexico: Affiliated with the national organization, ACLU of New Mexico believes in maintaining and advancing civil rights, liberties, and freedoms for all.  They also present “Know Your Rights” seminars to immigrant communities.
  • Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy CenterProvides legal representation for low-income immigrants.
  • New Mexico Dreamers in Action: Statewide, student-led organization whose mission is to achieve equal access to higher education for all people, regardless of immigration status.
  • New Mexico Immigrant Law Center: Provides affordable legal services and promotes knowledge of legal rights and the immigration process for New Mexico’s immigrants.
  • New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice: Educates the community about immigration issues, provides compassionate services to immigrant families, and advocates for humane immigration reform.
  • Somos Un Pueblo Unido: An immigrant-led, community-based organization that provides education and legal services for immigrant rights issues as well as leadership opportunities for low-wage immigrants.

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.