New Mexico eases basic requirements for driver’s licenses

(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)


SANTA FE, NM (AP) – New Mexico is making it easier to get the basic driver’s license recognized by government agencies and private companies, but it will no longer be valid for commercial air travel from October 2020, taxes and motor vehicle officers. announced on Tuesday.

Requirements will not change for Real ID Federal licenses that guarantee continued access to commercial aircraft and certain federal facilities next year.

The new procedures for obtaining the “standard” state license completely eliminate the requirements for fingerprinting and background checks by the Department of Public Safety for people without proof of legal residency in the United States. UU.

Immigrant rights advocates and civil liberties welcomed changes to minimum driving license requirements to improve legal access to public services and reduce risks associated with unlicensed drivers and uninsured.

To receive a standard license, applicants must provide a document proving their identity and age, as well as two other documents proving residence in New Mexico. Acceptable identity documents range from a US birth certificate. UU. To permanent medical records or a letter of registration from a nation or tribe of Native Americans.

“New Mexicans are not obliged to provide a Social Security number or other federal identification numbers, and they must not provide proof of immigration status for a standard license,” said the Department of Justice. taxation and income in a statement.

Agency Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke, who oversees state-owned motor vehicle offices, said the new standard license “comes without stigma and unnecessary hoops”.

The changes are the result of legislation recently passed and signed by first-year Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as the result of a lawsuit alleging that the state’s two-tiered system for credential verification precluded many immigrants, homeless and others.

Former Republican governor Susana Martínez warned for years that lax licensing procedures could turn the state into a magnet for illegal immigrants. Under the Commitments Act, his administration began issuing Real ID-compliant permits and alternative “driver’s license cards” in November 2016.

This week, the state has stopped issuing these authorization cards, replacing them with the well-known “standard license” that more closely resembles Real ID-compliant driving licenses.

“This allows the state to redo its work, which is to provide services to people who live here, without wondering if anyone comes from Kansas or Paraguay or elsewhere,” said Democratic Senator Daniel Ivey – Soto de Albuquerque, co-sponsor of the automobile reforms.

Most drivers will not be affected by the latest changes to the licensing requirements.

According to Alicia Ortiz, Director of the Automotive Division, approximately 98% of all applications and license renewals since the end of 2016 are real-ID compliant licenses.