Leave driver’s licenses alone; issue an optional REAL ID card

Pete Campos is a Democrat who represents Senate District 8. Lost amid the confusion, frustration and posturing regarding the federal government’s mandates for state driver’s licenses is an obvious solution:  create a REAL ID card for those New Mexicans who want it and who qualify for it and keep the debate over driver’s licenses for […]

Leave driver’s licenses alone; issue an optional REAL ID card

Pete Campos is a Democrat who represents Senate District 8.

Lost amid the confusion, frustration and posturing regarding the federal government’s mandates for state driver’s licenses is an obvious solution:  create a REAL ID card for those New Mexicans who want it and who qualify for it and keep the debate over driver’s licenses for immigrants separate.

PeteCampos2No one is happy with the federal government’s decision to change the requirements to board an airplane just to fly from Albuquerque to Denver.  But, we all want a safe and secure country, and we recognize that the changes are the result of the investigation into how terrorists managed to board airplanes on September 11, 2001.

It’s our job now to do what we can to help New Mexicans get the documents they need to travel by air.

It is worth repeating that this issue has everything to do with the federal government’s authority to decide who is allowed on airplanes and absolutely nothing to do with the state’s authority to decide who is allowed to drive on our roads.  Undocumented immigrants will continue to drive in New Mexico.  It is in our best interests to make sure they are properly trained, licensed and insured.  Nothing we do will allow undocumented immigrants to board airplanes, and taking away their driver’s licenses or calling their license a “card” won’t allow the rest of us to use our licenses to fly.

Your New Mexico driver’s license is good to board an airplane until January 22, 2018.  If we meet the federal requirements by then, your license will be good for federal purposes until October 1, 2020.  After that, everyone will need identification approved by the federal government — such as a REAL ID driver’s license, passport or passport card — to board an airplane.

I propose that we create an easy-to-obtain, inexpensive REAL ID card, similar to the passport card, that New Mexicans can use to board aircraft.  The REAL ID card could be issued for up to eight years by the state’s Motor Vehicle Division and the private companies that issue driver’s licenses, so New Mexicans would have a wide choice of locations from which to obtain the card and would likely get it faster than a passport.

Those New Mexicans who already have a passport, passport card or other identification that the federal government accepts to fly, and those New Mexicans who simply don’t fly, won’t have to collect and provide the government with highly personal and sensitive information about themselves to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.  One of the many untold stories of REAL ID is that to get a REAL ID driver’s license, you’ll have to allow the state to copy your passport or birth certificate and your social security card or another document that contains your social security number and store those copies for seven to 10 years.

Many people are justifiably concerned about sharing copies of those documents with the government simply because they want a driver’s license.  Sadly, we are all too aware of how vulnerable our personal information is, whether that information is stored by government agencies or retail stores.

The other advantage of this solution is that it separates the problem of New Mexicans not being able to board airplanes from the question of issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants.  The two issues are, in fact, separate and have only been linked for political advantage.  The federal government does not care if a state issues driver’s licenses to immigrants, and there is nothing in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 that prohibits a state from doing so.

Let’s end the politicization of this issue and find a reasonable, common-sense solution like creating a REAL ID card for New Mexicans.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report