New Mexico is not a swing state in the 2012 presidential election, but the state may provide a preview of some future political trends around the country. I reported on the history and demographics of New Mexico for NPR’s Latino USA: The New Mexico Difference
I profiled New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for the nationally syndicated radio program Latino USA. Governor Martinez is the first Latina governor in the country. She’s also getting a lot of attention from the national Republican Party this year.
In the Latino USA profile, we mention a recent Newsweek/the Daily Beast profile of Martinez: What New Mexico’s Governor Can Teach the GOP. Governor Martinez’s stance on immigration in that article was on people’s minds and it will be interesting to see how she approaches immigration issues in the future, both in the 2012 elections and beyond.
New Mexico has flown under the radar for years in the national immigration debate. Maybe it’s the state’s small population of about 2 million residents. It might also be the unique demographics – about 44% of New Mexicans identify as Hispanic or Latino. State and local leaders, especially in northern New Mexico, have adopted policies to protect immigrants from discrimination. New Mexico also currently lets anyone get a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. But, some immigrants’ rights advocates are raising concerns that federal policies and local politics are hurting the state’s tolerant culture.
I did two stories for KUNM as part of my fellowship with the Institute for Justice and Journalism’s Immigration in the Heartland program.