October 29, 2016


Governor's Administration Continues To Mislead Public About New Two-tiered Driver's License Law;  Non-REAL-ID License To Be Made Available To Immigrants and U.S. Citizens


Santa Fe - On Friday, the Governor's administration issued an announcement in which it continued to mislead New Mexicans by mischaracterizing the new two-tiered driver's license law and the regulations proposed to implement it.


In February, the N.M. Legislature approved House Bill 99 which created a two-tiered driver's license system - one that meets the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act and an alternative license known as the Driver's Authorization Card, or DAC, that would be available to everyone.


"It's a shame that this administration continues to misinform the public by saying the driver's authorization card is only for undocumented immigrants," said Marcela Diaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "New Mexicans and legislators wanted an alternative license to the REAL ID mainly because of REAL ID's onerous identification requirements. The new Driver's Authorization Card is that alternative for immigrants and U.S. citizens alike. The administration needs to do a better job of informing all New Mexicans about their rights under this new law."


Below is a list of clarifications following the administrations announcement about a November 14th implementation date:


1. The driver's license statute and regulations clearly create two types of licenses, one that is REAL ID compliant and one that is not.


2.The non-REAL ID compliant license is called a Driver's Authorization Card (DAC) and it serves as a real license, not a limited permit, in the state of New Mexico.


3. The DAC is available to undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants, AND U.S. citizens who do not want a REAL ID license or who do not have the necessary documents to obtain one (a physical birth certificate, social security card, employment verification, etc).  One of the main reasons why Republicans and Democrats wanted a two-tiered license system was because certain citizens might not have all the documents necessary for a REAL ID license (i.e. the homeless, elderly in rural communities, Native Americans, etc.). Other reasons cited by Legislators was privacy concerns and the reluctance of many citizens to obtain a nationalized driver's license.


4. According to DHS, New Mexicans can use non-REAL ID compliant licenses or ID cards to board commercial airplanes until at least 2020.


5.  Undocumented immigrants have access to the non-REAL-ID license (DAC) and if they are currently licensed in New Mexico, they will NOT be required to submit fingerprints or a background check.  Only new undocumented applicants for a DAC will have to submit fingerprints, NOT the tens of thousands who are currently licensed in New Mexico upon renewal.




1804 Espinacitas St.

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Telephone: 505-424-7832




1717 W. 2nd St. Ste. 203

Roswell, NM 88201

Telephone: 575-622-4486