New Mexico citizens may need to carry passports in 2010

A heads-up from the Alamagordo Daily News that after the first of the year, New Mexico residents may have carry passports if they want to board a flight on a commercial aircraft or enter federal facilities. The reason why: New Mexico’s refusal to adopt the federal Real ID Act:

Because of New Mexico’s non-compliance with Real ID, federal agencies will be prohibited from accepting after Dec. 31 a New Mexico driver’s license or other state-issued identification cards as an “official” document to access federal facilities, board federally regulated commercial aircraft or enter nuclear power plants.

New Mexico residents will essentially be considered foreigners as of Jan. 1….

…What is Real ID and why wouldn’t a state pass it?

At first blush, the requirements of the REAL ID Act do not appear onerous. For example, the Act commands state governments to include nine categories of information on all state-issued driver’s licenses such as full legal name, a digital photograph, and address of principle residence. These items are already found on most, if not all, driver’s licenses.

However, the ninth category requires states to use a “common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements.” In implementing this and the other requirements, the Secretary of Homeland Security would be empowered to impose regulations arbitrarily on all citizens. This broad and highly intrusive power is key, considering the recent advancements in technology.

Read the entire article here.

Update:  Since the link above has expired, we found an article also from 2009. State fights ‘Real ID’ rules

RelatedReal ID Act May Finally Be Enforced In 2013

Nearly a decade after Congress passed a crucial security measure to prevent a repeat of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Obama Administration finally plans to implement the law next year after much stalling.

Known as the Real ID Act, the national identification measure was enacted in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to verify the authenticity of every driver’s license applicant. It forces states to require that documents—such as a birth certificate or passport—submitted to get the card are legitimate and that the applicant is in the United States legally.

This goal is to establish a much-needed standardized national driver’s license system that will be less prone to fraud and will prevent terrorists from abusing it as did several of the 9/11 hijackers. New Mexico and Washington State still allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses and Utah offers them a special driving privilege card that can’t be used as official government identification.

The Real ID Act would kill those little deals…

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