Letter To The Editor: Response To GOP Approach To Real ID

By ED BIRNBAUM
Los Alamos

The Republican approach to Real ID has now been laid out in the Los Alamos Daily Post by House Majority Leader Tripp (Letter) and State Representatives Paul Pacheco and Andy Nunez (Letter)in pre-filed legislation for the upcoming legislative session.

Although I think everyone from both parties is on board with creating two tiers of licenses, their proposal for a “driving privilege card” for undocumented immigrants has a set of requirements, which will make it very unlikely that any such person will go to the trouble to obtain one. 

How many undocumented immigrants will be willing to be fingerprinted, pass a driver’s education course and provide two years of NM State personal income tax forms?  Even more problematic is finding the funds necessary to implement fingerprinting and evaluating tax returns in a tight budget year.

It seems to me that this proposal is a smokescreen to make it look like they are OK with allowing undocumented immigrants to drive in NM, but in reality, they are going to make it so difficult to obtain a driving privilege card, that no one will apply for one.

Pacheco and Nunez also state that giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is “dangerous”. Why so? Isn’t more dangerous to have such individuals driving without licenses and without insurance, which is likely to be the end result if this legislation is passed as written?

I am still wondering why every House Republican was opposed to a bill that passed the muster of most Senate Republicans in the last legislative session judging by the large bi-partisan vote in the Senate (35-5).

We need to find a way to get over this partisan brinkmanship approach and recognize that there is a need for both a Real ID license and a driver privilege card that is NOT harder to obtain than a Real ID license. 

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