WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following response to today's statement by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson on the final phase of REAL ID implementation:
"In December, we convened a meeting with DHS officials and urged the administration to provide New Mexico families and businesses with certainty about whether they would be able to board a commercial airplane with a driver's license after the next phase of REAL ID goes into effect in the state on Jan. 10. We appreciate Secretary Johnson's statement today, which clarifies that the law will not apply to air travel until Jan. 22, 2018.
"However, the Jan. 10 deadline for REAL ID compliance still applies to access to federal facilities in New Mexico. Our offices remain in close contact with DHS to help resolve any confusion about what form of identification will be required to enter federal facilities, and we stand ready to support a request for an extension that allows the legislature time to pass a bipartisan, pragmatic solution. We continue to urge the governor and legislature to work together to develop a REAL ID compliant driver's license that would enable all drivers to drive legally, and provide certainty for workers and contractors who do business on federal facilities."
Seeking answers on behalf of New Mexicans about the standards and procedures that DHS will follow to enforce REAL ID, Udall, Heinrich, Luján and Lujan Grisham held a joint meeting in December with DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Mayorkas pledged to the congressional leaders that DHS would delay enforcement if New Mexico takes steps before Jan. 10 to prove that the governor and legislators are committed to complying with the law this year. Gov. Susana Martinez and the leadership of the N.M. House and Senate would need to verify to DHS that they agree on legislation that ensures REAL ID compliance. The delegation summarized the pledge in a letter to Martinez, available HERE.