Following passage of a bill during the recent legislative session to meet requirements of the federal Real ID Act, Gov. Susana Martinez has since applied for a waiver from the federal law.
The Associated Press reports that Martinez formally requested a waiver for New Mexico from federal Homeland Security Department Deputy Secretary Alejando Mayorkas. Martinez told reporters last week that she would be doing so during her upcoming trip to Washington DC.
Because of the state’s failure to make progress towards meeting Real ID standards, New Mexico driver’s licenses currently aren’t accepted as entrance to some federal facilities.
Homeland Security warned that continued failure would mean its driver’s licenses won’t be able to be used in airports in two years. A waiver would take that threat away; current licenses would be good for federal purposes, including getting on airplanes for domestic flights, until 2020.
During the legislative session, lawmakers agreed on a bill establishing two forms of identification: one a driver’s license compliant with Real ID and the other a driver’s privilege card noncompliant with the regulations.
Immigrants in the country illegally will be eligible for the driver’s privilege card. Currently, undocumented immigrants can obtain New Mexico driver’s licenses. Martinez made repealing that law a hallmark of her governorship since running for office in 2010.
The New Mexico congressional delegation announced that New Mexico could receive a waiver before the session if the Legislature and the governor could come to an agreement. However, it took until the second half of the Legislative session and a key amendment in the Senate Finance Committee for the Legislature to come to an agreement.
Martinez has pledged to sign the Real ID-compliant legislation, which would take effect this summer.