Dem leader says different REAL ID rules in NM result of GOP 'unwilling to compromise"

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By RUSSELL CONTRERAS  Associated Press
January 11, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — The latest developments on immigrant driver’s license debate in New Mexico (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Democratic House Minority Leader Brian Egolf says New Mexico is seeing varying REAL ID requirements because Republicans were “unwilling to compromise” on a fix last year.

The Santa Fe Democrat said Monday that a Senate proposal creating a “two-tier” system could resolve current confusion over making New Mexico compliant under the federal REAL ID Act.

The bill will allow state residents to get REAL ID compliant licenses. Others, including immigrants in the country illegally, would have had the option to keep non-REAL ID compliant identifications.

A Republican plan would create REAL ID compliant licenses and allow immigrants to apply for “driving privilege cards.”

White Sands Missile Range and Sandia Labs announced on Monday it will no longer accept just a New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors.


12:15 p.m.

An immigrant rights group says new REAL ID restrictions in the state have nothing to do with a New Mexico law that allows immigrants in the country illegally to obtain state driver’s licenses.

Marcela Diaz, executive director of the Santa Fe-based Somos Un Pueblo, said Monday that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez had a chance last year to support a Senate bill that would have avoided the confusion.

That bill would have allowed state residents to get REAL ID compliant licenses. Others, including immigrants in the country illegally, would have had the option to keep non-REAL ID compliant identifications.

White Sands Missile Range and Sandia Labs announced on Monday it will no longer accept just a New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors.


11:30 a.m.

New Mexico Republican House Speaker Don Tripp says new REAL ID restrictions in the state show that Democrats need to compromise on solution next session.

Tripp said Monday that Democratic state lawmakers must to agree to revise a law that allows immigrants in the country illegally to obtain state driver’s licenses.

White Sands Missile Range announced on Monday it will no longer accept New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors. Sandia Labs also announced it will no longer accept just a New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification.

REAL ID Act requirements mandate proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use state IDs for certain federal purposes.

The GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate have dueling “two-tier” proposals.


11:15 a.m.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s office says Democrats are to blame for new REAL ID restrictions that limit access to Sandia Labs and White Sands Missile Range.

Martinez spokesman Mike Lonergan said Monday that New Mexicans are being punished by the federal government because Democratic state lawmakers refuse to repeal a law that allows immigrants in the country illegally to obtain state driver’s licenses.

White Sands Missile Range announced on Monday it will no longer accept New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors. Sandia Labs has announced it will no longer accept just a New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification.

Lonergan says the problem could have been avoided if state lawmakers had repealed the immigrant license law.


10:45 a.m.

Sandia Labs has announced it will no longer accept just a New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors.

Labs spokeswoman Lindsey Kibler said effective Monday all New Mexico’s driver’s licenses will be noncompliant under the federal REAL ID act and can’t be used as the sole identification to enter.

Kibler says New Mexico IDs will be accepted for a Sandia visitor badge as long as they are accompanied by an additional ID, like a Social Security card or birth certificate.

Sandia Labs joined White Sands Missile Range on Monday in no longer accepting New Mexico IDs after a Sunday deadline by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

REAL ID Act requirements mandate proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use state IDs for certain federal purposes.


9 a.m.

White Sands Missile Range has announced it will no longer accept New Mexico driver’s license as a form of identification from visitors.

Range spokesman Erin Dorrance said the base stopped accepting New Mexico IDs on Monday because they aren’t in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

The move comes after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declined to give New Mexico an extension on complying with tougher rules that require proof of legal U.S. residency in order for state driver’s licenses and IDs to be valid for some federal purposes.

REAL ID Act requirements mandate proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use state IDs to access certain areas of federal buildings and, eventually, board commercial flights.

Lawmakers are expected this month to work on revising New Mexico’s law.