Your wait at MVD is about to get a lot longer if a driver’s license proposal supported by Governor Martinez passes the state legislature this January, a national report of state legislatures says.
Earlier this year, the federal Department of Homeland Security gave notice that it would not approve a new extension of time for New Mexico to implement federal REAL ID guidelines. Federal officials warn that if New Mexico does not take steps to implement a system to create a REAL ID-compliant ID option for New Mexicans, state licenses may not be accepted to board airplanes or to enter some high-security federal facilities starting in 2016.
The governor has sparred with legislative leaders for years over a solution.
Despite assurances that “REAL ID authorizes states to issue cards that are not compliant with the Act,” Governor Martinez, backed by a majority of Republicans in the State House, insist that they won’t consider any REAL ID law that does not also include a repeal of current policy allowing the issuance of licenses to certain undocumented drivers.
Recognizing the looming REAL ID deadline, Republican and Democrat leaders in the State Senate passed a fix with overwhelming bi-partisan support (35-5) in 2015.
That bill allows New Mexicans to keep the licenses they currently have, but creates a new, optional REAL ID compliant ID available for those who need the federal REAL ID to access high-security locations.
Under the Senate plan, New Mexicans whose current licenses work just fine for getting to the grocery store or church don’t have to do anything new at all.
“More than double” lines at MVD
The governor’s proposal – which adds an additional requirement not mandated by the federal government – means that every New Mexican would have to produce additional documents, take new pictures and submit new signatures to a network of federal databases in order to receive a new New Mexico license, a report from the non-partisan National Council on State Legislatures found.
“To comply with the requirement that all DL/ID (Driver’s license or identification) card holders re-verify their identity with the state, individuals must gather and present all their identification documents, which may more than double the length of time they spend at their DMVs,” the report concludes.
“This standard will require an in-person visit by every current DL/ID holder as well as new applicants to review and verify all required identification documents and re-document information for the new license including place of principal residence, new photographs and new signatures.”
Increased Costs for New Licenses – Even if You Don’t Need the Enhanced Security Benefits
Requiring every driver in New Mexico to go through more hassle and time to renew their license is not only time consuming, it could also cost you more for the privilege.
An often overlooked provision of the Republican’s license proposal is a provision that allows the state to charge applicants $5 more per license for a REAL ID license, even if they don’t need one.
Proving Your Identity Isn’t as Easy as a Few Pieces of Paper
And requiring everyone who doesn’t need a REAL ID to submit to the process of applying for one just to keep driving like they already do has caused real headaches for drivers across the country.
Here’s a story from earlier this month from one couple in Reno, NV as reported on KOLO TV:
Real ID, Real Headache For Local Couple, Nov. 2, 2015
Bruce Gruenewald rifles through important documents like the lease on his home and bank papers. He shows us his adoption certificate that has his parents’ names, birth date, and county of origin. He’s used it as identification, but at the DMV for Real ID it’s not good enough..
Even his honorable discharge certificate from the Air Force didn’t work.
Gruenewald says he was told such documents are easily forged, and not tough to get.
This all came about as he and his wife decided to renew driver’s licenses, and start applying for passports. His wife is having an even tougher time. At the time of her birth she was issued a Notification of Birth Registration by the state of California. It is not a birth certificate–even though the document says it can be used for identification right on the back. She’s having to write the state along with a $25 check in hopes of getting a certified birth certificate that will be accepted here in Nevada.
“I’ve spent $90 on a birth certificate from the state of Michigan, and I think it is incorrect,” says Gruenewald
“The biggest thing now is that everything has to be certified or original document, it can’t be a copy. And what was normally used a few years ago, It’s not going to work anymore,” says Renato Lara with the Reno DMV.
In Hutchinson, Kansas the local paper recently told the story of a 78-year old woman, escorted to the DMV by her healthcare aide to renew her ID card so she could vote.
She was turned away because the state needed a copy of her marriage license – though she’s been divorced for 35 years.
After waiting more than an hour, she was told very unkindly that they would need a copy of her marriage license.
“I have been divorced for 35 years and have never been asked for the item. By the time she got through demoralizing me I was fighting the tears,” the woman wrote.
Though she got the copy of the marriage license she has yet to return to the DMV. She’s not eager to go through that ordeal again. But that has curtailed her effort to get a personal ID to vote.
While it is not known how many New Mexicans lack the original, certified copies of multiple forms of paperwork required to verify their identity and address, it’s a safe bet that most New Mexicans will end up like their neighbors in Nevada trekking back and forth and enduring a lot of expense and frustration just to stand in longer lines for a new license they don’t even need.
“There is no need for the governor to require grandma who only drives to church on Sunday and the grocery store on Tuesday to go to the expense of getting certified copies of all these documents, just to stand in longer MVD lines to renew the driver’s license she’s had for 50 years,” says Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico.
“New Mexicans who need to enter high-security areas like airports and our national labs should have the option to obtain these REAL ID cards or a passport or whatever ID they like to do their business; we shouldn’t require everyone to turn in a perfectly good license for one they don’t need just to help a few politicians fulfill a campaign promise that was unreasonable from the start,” he adds.
Here’s what you can do to take action