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Using the New Mexico licenses, the illegals are able to obtain licenses in their home states.

The traffickers typically charge thousands of dollars per person, and their customers come from around the globe.

“The parade of human traffickers gouging immigrants for thousands of dollars apiece to get them to a New Mexico MVD office reads like a game of ‘Carmen Sandiego,’ with origin points including Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Poland and Russia,” the Albuquerque Journal said in an editorial supporting the repeal.

The law’s advocates insist that the fraud claims are exaggerated and that the governor is exploiting a minor problem in order to win support from tea party and Republican voters. Without those licenses, some immigrants will be stranded without a means of getting to work.

“There are 80,000 people who use this to drive to work every day,” said Cristina Parker, a spokeswoman for the Border Network for Human Rights. “The governor is doing this just to rally the base. There is not a real fraud issue going on here.”

To find out how pervasive the problem is, the state Tax and Revenue Department sent letters to 10,000 randomly selected foreign nationals who had received New Mexico driver’s licenses, asking them to verify in person that they still live in the state.

Of those 10,000 letters, more than 3,200 came back marked “undeliverable.” One arrived at a local television station. Others were sent to nonexistent addresses. Some went to the homes of legal residents who said they had lived at those houses “for decades,” said Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell.

About 2,600 people turned up for their appointments with the state, and 1,316 of them were able to verify their listed addresses. The rest are still pending, he said.

“We have a law in New Mexico that affects public safety not only in New Mexico, but in every state,” said Mr. Darnell. “What are they doing with the license? We don’t know. Where are they going with these licenses? We don’t know.”

A state judge issued a restraining order on the letter-writing investigation Aug. 31 in response to a lawsuit filed by four Democratic lawmakers, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and others, who argued that the program represented a civil rights violation.