ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Military installations in New Mexico, including Kirtland Air Force Base, will stop accepting some driver’s licenses for base access as early as Sept. 15 as implementation of the federal Real ID Act approaches, military officials said Tuesday.
While New Mexico-issued licenses and IDs are valid under Real ID criteria in some aspects until October 2020, at this point they won’t be accepted for Kirtland access after Oct. 10 of this year absent another extension – which is considered likely.
Meanwhile, state officials said Tuesday they hope to begin issuing new Real ID compliant licenses later this year. Under the new system, undocumented immigrants would be eligible only for driving authorization cards that are not valid for purposes of federal identification.
“We’re still on track and moving forward” on the implementation of the new two-tier system, said Benjamin Cloutier, a spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Revenue.
Beginning Sept. 15, identification cards or driver’s licenses issued by Minnesota, Missouri, Washington or American Samoa – which are not currently compliant with Real ID – cannot be used to access Kirtland, according to a base news release.
“New Mexico has received an extension for their state-issued ID cards through Oct. 10 of this year,” said Maj. Brent Pickrell, commander of Kirtland’s 377th Security Forces Squadron.
“New Mexico plans to file for another extension, and while we believe this request will likely be approved, we must plan for the contingency where it does not,” said Pickrell, who commands the unit at Kirtland that controls installation access.
Base officials expect resolutions for New Mexico and 28 other states and territories to be reached prior to Oct. 10, but they are preparing for the possibility that these IDs will become invalid, he said.
Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range are implementing similar restrictions. Kirtland officials said the new rules are being implemented Air Force-wide. Officials at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis did not immediately respond to a request about its access policies.
NM on track
New Mexico is awaiting approval from the federal Department of Homeland Security for its Real ID implementation plan and expects to begin issuing Real ID compliant licenses later this year.
Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla has told legislators the state got the go-ahead to order the fingerprint machines needed for background checks. The agency also has been working with a vendor that is designing the new licenses. Training for Motor Vehicle Division employees in the new system was to occur throughout August.
The new license system was approved by the Legislature and the governor this year, ending a contentious five-year debate over whether the state should continue issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Under the state’s plan, undocumented immigrants – along with any citizens who want them – will be able to get driving authorization cards that are not good for official, federal identification purposes. Citizens and others with a lawful presence will be able to get Real ID compliant licenses, as long as they provide the required documents, including certified copies of birth certificates and documents with Social Security numbers.
Fingerprinting will be required only of undocumented immigrants who are new applicants – that is, those without current New Mexico licenses.
Still, beginning Oct. 10, people with licenses or IDs from states or territories currently under an extension will need approved alternate forms of ID for unescorted base access, unless further extensions are approved.
Those states and territories are New Mexico, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, the Northern Mariana Islands, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Valid forms of identification for Kirtland
Kirtland officials said valid alternate forms of ID include:
■ U.S. passport.
■ U.S passport card.
■ Permanent resident card/alien registration receipt card (Form I-551).
■ A foreign passport with a temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa.
■ An employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I- 766).
■ Identification card issued by federal, state or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph and biographical information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.
■ U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner cards/credentials.
■ PIV or federally-issued PIV-1 Cards (personal identification verification) issued by the federal government.
■ PIV-I card (personal identification verification-interoperable issued by non-federal government entities).
■ DHS “Trusted Traveler Cards” (Global entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).
■ Merchant mariner card issued by DHS/ United States Coast Guard (USCG).
■ Border crossing card (Form DSP-150).
■ U.S. certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship (Form N-550) and U.S. permanent resident card (Form I-551).
Kirtland officials also said that current holders of distinguished visitor’s passes would be granted access with the passes until they expire, and new passes would be issued according to the REAL ID requirements.
For a full list of REAL ID Act and compliant and non-complaint states, visit dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories [https://www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories].