New Mexico Residents Will Be Banned From Flying
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New Mexico Residents Will Be Banned From Flying

Most people take the freedom to fly for granted, but for New Mexico residents that freedom is about to change. On January 15, 2013, a New Mexico driver’s license will no longer be considered a valid form of ID in the eyes of the U.S. government and boarding a plane will get a lot tougher for these residents.

The Real I.D. Act of 2005 was enacted in 2005 to tighten the requirements to receive a state issued driver’s license or ID card. It was aimed at preventing terrorists from gaining easy access to airplanes, federal buildings, and nuclear power plants. The law was originally set to go into effect in 2008, but all 50 states applied for extensions. The law is now set to go into effect on January 15, 2013 and this time there will be no extension. The state of New Mexico is not in compliance and is making no plans to change the situation.

New Mexico fails to meet the criteria of the Real ID Act of 2005 because it issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. In order to receive a driver’s license in the state of New Mexico, you need a utility bill and another form of ID. Unfortunately, the form of ID can be almost anything and being a legal citizen is not a requirement. Governor Susana Martinez has tried to get the requirements changed in order to be compliant but the state legislature has blocked her motions. They claim that issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens will encourage them to get car insurance. This has been in effect for 10 years and so far there has been no evidence to back up that claim.

The failure to meet the requirements of the Real ID Act of 2005 will have serious consequences. Residents will not be allowed to board a plane with just the driver’s license. They will also need another form of ID such as a passport. Government buildings such as federal courthouses, the nuclear labs in Los Alamos, or the Air Force bases will also turn away citizens without other forms of ID. Long lines have been forming at places that sell passports as people try and beat the mid January deadline.

The decision to allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses is staunchly defended by members of the legislature but major problems have surfaced. Since it was implemented in 2003, Over 80,000 undocumented workers have obtained licenses. A lot of them have come from states with stricter regulations and many have been caught with fraudulent information. In June of this year several people were arrested for running a system of obtaining licenses for other people using counterfeit documents.

Members of the state legislature have stated that they will consider repealing the state law if the federal government will issue a compromise on the ID act. The chances of the federal government changing the law based on one state’s objections are very slim. The New Mexico state legislature is scheduled to meet again on January 15. This session will affect the travel plans of many New Mexico citizens in the future.

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