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Over the past few weeks, several community members have contacted me about the REAL ID Act and a looming Jan. 15 deadline. The primary concern is that New Mexico is currently not in compliance with the REAL ID Act.
This means New Mexicans may not be able to use their drivers’ licenses to board commercial airlines after Jan. 15. If this occurs, it could have alarming effects on our state and community. Public concern over this issue has been heightened by recent news stories and statements from public officials.
First, let me provide some basic background information. The REAL ID Act was crafted under the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and signed into law in 2005. It stipulates that for state issued IDs to be accepted by Federal entities, the IDs must meet several new security provisions. In accordance with the law and a 2008 Department of Homeland Security guideline on compliance, New Mexico has adopted a number of these changes.
We are still out of compliance on a few points. The most well known area of non-compliance is a provision that permits undocumented residents to obtain a driver’s license. Residents of New Mexico can currently obtain a driver’s license without a Social Security Number if they can prove their identity with other documents.
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