Democrats Assail Martinez Immigration Order

New Mexico – Democratic legislators are vowing to fight a directive by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez requiring state law enforcement to ask about the immigration status of criminal suspects.

More than a dozen lawmakers criticized the governor's executive order at a news conference Thursday in the Capitol. They say the policy will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics and they likened it to a controversial immigration enforcement law in Arizona.

Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque said the governor's order was the equivalent of a "no dogs or Mexicans" sign that he once saw at a restaurant as a teenager in eastern New Mexico.

Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell described the news conference as a "sanctuary rally" by liberal politicians. He said the governor's policy protects crime victims and those seeking help from police.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.