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NM drivers licenses don't meet federal standards

By Patrick Hayes
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A 10-year-old law could make some state IDs useless at airport checkpoints.  The Real ID Act was signed after 9/11 and tries to make it harder for potential terrorists to get fake IDs.

The law says certain requirements must be met if states want their IDs honored at airport checkpoints or government buildings. 

Nearly a decade after the law was passed, it finally went into effect in April, but New Mexico still isn’t ready.

That’s because New Mexico issues licenses to undocumented immigrants.

State Rep. Bill McCamley told KFOX14 the state does that because of public safety. 

“People are driving anyways,” he said. “They’re here, they’re living and if they don’t have driver’s licenses, we don’t know if they’ve passed that minimum test we require for people to get out on the road.”

The Department of Homeland Security said the state would have to repeal the law that allows it to hand out IDs to undocumented immigrants to fall into good standing.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has tried, but her attempts have failed because of state Democrats like McCamley.

He said New Mexico passed this law years ago and since that time, other states have adopted similar laws.  “So obviously we were doing something right here,” he said.    

Residents in Las Cruces seemed split on whether or not undocumented immigrants should be allowed to get IDs.

“I’ve always wondered why we’ve given driver’s licenses to someone who is here illegally,” said one man who didn’t want to give his name.

Tyrone Garner, a Las Cruces resident, said IDs are a good way to hold people accountable.  That way if they commit some kind of crime, law enforcement agencies can track them.

If New Mexico isn’t granted an extension before October, residents will have to provide another form of ID when going in federal facilities.

Then starting in 2016, they’ll need another form of ID, like a passport, to get through airport security.

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