In less than six weeks, the federal government will be treating New Mexicans as foreigners, as your state driver's license may no longer get you through airport security.
Drivers Licenses Won' Be Valid At Airports
New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Rick Homans said a federal law called "The Real ID Act" is putting your driver's license in jeopardy to be used for travel security.
"Right now it's a game of chicken, between the federal government and the state governments," Homans said.
The Bush administration passed the law, designed to stop terrorists from entering the country, after Sept. 11, 2001. All 50 states have to comply with its regulations by Jan. 1, 2010.
[BTC- Nothing will happen if States do not comply. Funding will not be cut. No large electrocution from the sky will befall States. Nothing... will happen except Washington will have to accept that these regulations are inappropriate for American life. More and more Americans are adjusting to a life of inconvenience as an alternative to a life of surveillance. 36 States have already called DHS bluff. Just repeal it. Repeal the Real ID Act.]
Sec. Rick Homans said the clock is ticking and New Mexico is nowhere near close.
"The way it is right now, come Jan. 1st, residents of New Mexico and residents of about 25 other states wouldn't be allowed to board airplanes unless they had a valid passport."
The biggest issue is that New Mexico gives driver's licenses to foreign nationals and illegal immigrants, which under the new law, would be illegal. The Obama administration has been promising to modify the law, but so far no action has been taken. Lawmakers in Washington have been so consumed with health care reform that the "Real ID" law issue has been put on the back burner.
"So I think that's the issue our delegation in Washington needs to deal with," Homans said.