Agency Will Help NM Residents Traveling To Arizona

New Mexico – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has directed a state agency to help New Mexicans worried about traveling to Arizona and dealing with its new immigration enforcement law.

Richardson said Friday he was "deeply concerned" that New Mexico residents could be stopped in Arizona under that state's law. Hispanics account for about 45 percent of New Mexico's population.

The Democratic governor directed the Division of Human Rights in the Workforce Solutions Department to assist New Mexicans with Arizona's law.

The agency will refer New Mexicans to foundations or legal services groups if they've been stopped in Arizona and questioned about their immigration status and are considering a possible lawsuit. Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia said the state cannot provide those legal services.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.