Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Governor And Her Grandfather: Readers Track The Odyessey Of Adolfo Martinez; Century Old Records Reveal His Story; Here Illegally Or Not? 

Death certificate of Adolfo's wife (click to enlarge)
The firestorm over repealing the law allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses really started roaring when Governor Martinez--who wants to repeal the law--said her grandfather had entered the USA from Mexico illegally.

Now, blog readers hungry for more on the background of Governor Martinez comb through historical record depositories, digging for the full story about the Guv's grandfather, Adolfo Martinez, who she says entered the country illegally. But new evidence from our readers suggest Adolfo was in the USA legally--at least for most of his time here.

The Guv also said that Adolfo "abandoned" his family--including Susana's father, Jake. Adolfo had six children. One reader reports Adolfo's wife and Susana's grandmother, Francisa, died at the age of 31 in 1934. He sent the death certificate posted here. He contends that this information raises the question of whether Adolfo did indeed abandon his family:

There is a very big question as to whether or not he really "abandoned" anyone. It seems he was separated from Francisca at the time of her death, but in 1934 it would not at all be surprising that a man with six children would leave them in the care of their mother's family after the mother's death. His daughter was the informant for his death certificate. It is fairly obvious that there was contact with his family and it was much more extensive than Governor Martinez's statements on the matter reveal.

But again, the story is not that her grandparents were here "illegally," it is that Susana Martinez hid it and is now trying to slant the truth of the story so that it appears, I guess, more favorable to her.

Martinez has said her knowledge of her family's history is sketchy.

Earlier, another reader came with the obit of Adolfo Martinez that showed he maintained deep roots in El Paso, working as a cab driver for 50 years, according to the El Paso Herald-Post obit. He died in 1976 at the age of 82. Governor Martinez was born in El Paso in 1959.

We talked more granddad Adolfo for this KOB-TV news report.


Like we said, readers are all over this story, blogging in with their own investigative reports based on historical records. Alan Schwartz is one of them:

Joe, The obit you posted Sept. 16 for Adolfo Martinez was published in the El Paso Herald-Post on November 1, 1976. According to the Social Security Death Index and the Texas Death Index, Adolfo Martinez was born on Feb 15, 1894 and died on Oct 29, 1976.

The earliest record I could find for Adolfo Martinez was a manifest listing of aliens arriving at El Paso on Sep 19, 1908. Adolfo Martinez is listed as 14 years old (consistent with an 1894 birth date). He was accompanied by his 45 year old mother Vincenta Martinez, who listed her destination as her daughter's home in El Paso. According to another data base, Adolfo Martinez's parents were Jose Martinez and Vincenta Rodriquez.

In 1917, a 23 year old Adolfo Martinez (born Feb 15, 1894) registered for the WWI draft. He was single, unemployed, listed his occupation as machinist and an El Paso address.

According to Jacobo (Jake) Martinez's Texas birth records, he was born May 2, 1932 to Adolfo Martinez and Francisca Ortega. (Jake Martinez is the father of Governor Martinez.)

On the 1930 census, Adolfo Martinez and Francisca Martinez were living in El Paso. Household members include two sons (Victor and Alberto), a daughter Yolanda, a sister-in law Alice Ortega, brother-in-law Galacion Ortega, and mother-in-law Fermina Ortega. Adolfo listed his occupation as chauffeur and workplace as "taxi stand." Adolfo was 24 and Francisca 15 when they were married. Both listed their status as AL (Alien).

There are numerous other "documented" instances of Adolfo crossing the border from Mexico into the US.

In 1934, two years after the birth of Jake, Francisca Martinez died at the age of 31.

Thanks much, Alan.

Jake Martinez, 80, the father of Governor Martinez, today lives in Las Cruces where the Govenror reports he is struggling with health issues.


Adolfo, Francisca & baby Yolanda (1918)
Another researching reader who asked to remain anonymous comes with more details on the various border crossings of Adolfo who fought in the Mexican Revolution. He says there is now a question of whether the Governor's grandfather was indeed here illegally, that a 1930 census report casting him in that light may be getting misinterpreted:

Adolfo was lawfully admitted to the US a number of times, the first time at El Paso in September 1908 with his mother (his 3 siblings entered a week earlier). The family remained in El Paso until about 1915, though Adolfo likely went back earlier to join the fighting in the revolution. All arrivals were at El Paso.

Adolfo was admitted again, temporarily, on March 16, 1918. He decided to remain, and so returned to the Immigration office where they created additional records for his lawful admission. These records (card and manifest) are dated July 23, 1918 but refer to the arrival in March, They are annotated to show his border crossing card was renewed in 1931.

The lawful admission date of July 23, 1918 is cited on his "border permit card" (border crossing card) issued in March 1921 (renewed 1931).

I got all the records from from Ancestry.com. That census record was totally misinterpreted, and no one seemed to question the mistake or even looked to see if there was a legal immigration record.

The original March 16, 1918 date is cited as Adolfo's official arrival date on his 1942 naturalization record.

Thanks to these astute readers for the time they spent researching this story. Whether here legally or illegally, Adolfo Martinez has earned his chapter in the never ending book of La Politica.


Don't let this sneak up on you. There could be a major change in the way you vote next year in Bernalillo County:

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is seeking public comment on her proposal to implement Voting Convenience Centers (VCC) in lieu of Election Day precinct locations for the Primary and General Elections in 2012. A forum will be held Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 pm in the Chambers at One Civic Plaza, NW. The proposal includes 65 VCC locations strategically placed throughout the City and County... The 65 VCC locations will take the place of 172 precinct locations on Election Day, resulting in a significant savings in manpower and supplies....


We gave kudos to Mayor Berry for forming a working group to look at the heroin problem in the city's schools, but reader Paul Roybal sees it from another angle:

Interesting how there is a call to arms when heroin becomes an upper middle class problem. Wonder how the concerned public would feel if a treatment center were proposed at say Ventura and Academy in the affluent ABQ NE Heights? Mayor Berry needs an education on the problem. The other night he went on TV saying we need to talk to the kids like adults, not children. Sorry, Mayor. We can't hug the heroin out of them...

Reader Pete Baston reacts to our statement that the public is not beating down the doors in Santa Fe to ensure that Governor Martinez's agenda is given a hearing:

Most people would not bother beating down the doors in Santa Fe because they realize that there is nothing on the other side. NM is in the middle of one of its worst economic crisis ever and it is going to get worse. 99% of this special session and the session coming in January has not and will not address anything related to this problem. The only jobs that most politicians seemed concerned with is their own and they should be very afraid come voting season....

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