Anti-Immigrant New Mexico Governor Reveals Her Grandparents Were Undocumented Immigrants

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has long been known for her vitriolic rhetoric against undocumented immigrants. Just this week, she slammed presidential contender Rick Perry (R-TX) for once supporting the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. “It is not comprehensive reform to put people who are here illegally, who violated the law, and put them in front of the line for those folks who have been waiting and doing all the right things to come to the United States,” she said.

But on Wednesday, Martinez surprised many when she admitted that her own grandparents were among those “people…who violated the law” when they came to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants:

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has acknowledged her paternal grandparents came to the U.S. illegally, amid national attention and protests over her ongoing efforts to bar illegal immigrants from getting driver’s licenses.

“I know they arrived without documents, especially my father’s father,” the Republican said Wednesday in an interview in Spanish with KLUZ-TV, the Albuquerque Univision affiliate. […]

Martinez has made headlines recently for her push to repeal a state law that lets illegal immigrants get a New Mexico driver’s license. She has added the issue to the agenda for a special session on redistricting that opened Tuesday.

This is the first time Martinez has definitively answered questions about her grandparents’ immigration status, and admitted that she would not be in this country — let alone be a governor — if they had not entered the U.S. without papers. At a rally yesterday against Martinez’s effort to repeal the driver’s license law, protesters held placards that read, “Dear Susana. Do you know your history? Did you forget your roots?”


Martinez’s office was quick to preemptively denounce anyone who would “personally attack the governor” for this revelation. But given her hard-line stance and willingness to separate other families who are undocumented, many activists hope she will keep her own roots in mind when issues like the DREAM Act come up.

This week, Martinez reiterated, “I don’t support piecemeal legislation such as the DREAM Act.” However, Martinez should know better than anyone that we don’t control our parents’ or grandparents’ actions, and shouldn’t be punished for them.