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DoD Says No to N.M. Licenses

DoD Says No to N.M. Licenses

New Mexico lawmakers in session in Santa Fe are expected to begin debate Thursday on a REAL ID fix


The U.S. Department of Defense said Wednesday that it will no longer accept driver’s licenses from New Mexico and four other states as a form of identity for people to enter DoD installations.

The ban also applies to driver’s licenses from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and American Samoa, the DoD in the announcement that was posted to its web site.

“Those attempting to gain physical access to DoD installations must show an alternate form of identification, such as a passport,” the announcement said. “Service members, family members, DoD employees, and federal employees with the DoD common access card,” and others with federal IDs won’t be affected by the ban, the statement said.

The DoD said the ban was the result of the states’ failure to abide by the REAL ID ACT of 2005, required states to tighten up driver’s license process and require proof of legal U.S. residency before issuing a license. New Mexico allows illegal immigrants to get full driver’s licenses.

“The REAL ID Act grew out of the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks — most of the terrorists involved had driver’s licenses from Florida and Virginia,” the DoD’s statement said. “Congress tightened up insurance processes and documentation needed to get a driver’s license. Compliant cards must he specific security features to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication of the document. The licenses also must present data in a common, machine-readable format.”

The Department of Homeland Security said last October that it would not grant New Mexico another waiver from the REAL ID Act regarding its driver’s licenses. It means that state driver’s licenses can’t be used to enter most federal facilities. The agency recently said that it would be another two years before it banned New Mexico licenses from being used as IDs to board commercial airlines.

New Mexico lawmakers in session in Santa Fe are expected to begin debate Thursday on a REAL ID fix.

The DoD’s statement continued: “All federal agencies, including DoD must comply with the law regarding the use of REAL IDs for official purposes. “For most DoD installations, an identification card or an installation pass is required to facilitate access. Hence, where an ID or an installation pass is used for physical access, DoD Installations are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or state identification cards from states deemed non-REAL ID compliant.”

The statement said that base commanders can waive the access control requirements “for special situations, circumstances, or emergencies. Therefore, installations may authorize other alternatives to facilitate installation access, such as a graduation ceremony guest list, etc.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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