ACLU of New Mexico Joins Legislative Opposition To Real ID Act

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
January 23, 2007 12:00 am

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ACLU of New Mexico
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ALBUQUERQUE – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and organizations from both sides of the political spectrum today joined state legislators in opposition to the creation of a national identification card and the implementation of the federal Real ID Act of 2005 in New Mexico.

Representative Ken Martinez and Senator Michael Sanchez are asking the New Mexico legislature to reject the implementation of the Real ID Act in New Mexico and to send a message to Congress to repeal or significantly modify the Act.

“The federal government has no right to tell New Mexico who it can license and how,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director for the ACLU of New Mexico. “New Mexico has developed a drivers’ license system that corresponds to the diversity and the specific public safety needs of our state. There is no reason to change that system, especially when the Real ID scheme will greatly increase the bureaucracy and costs associated with getting a drivers’ license in New Mexico.”

The Real ID Act places a costly unfunded mandate on states, the ACLU said. Over the first five years of implementation, New Mexico’s projected cost is at least $37 million. The estimated cost to all states is more than $11 billion. The Act will also create burdens for individual citizens including higher licensing fees, longer lines, and no longer being able to obtain same-day licenses.

Real ID would significantly strain state governments in other ways as well. For example, it would require New Mexico to expand its DMV payrolls, initiate or expand employee training in such areas as security, document verification, and immigration law, and initiate or expand security clearance procedures for its workers.

Opponents range from privacy and civil liberties organizations like the ACLU to groups that advocate limited government like The Cato Institute and the local Rio Grande Foundation.

A full list of organizations that oppose Real ID both locally and nationally is online at: www.realnightmare.org

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