ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — It's dej vu all over again; since it was passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act has been delayed time after time and Wednesday, the federal law's effects were pushed back once more.
The post-9/11 law was intended to increase national security by tightening up the process states use to hand out licenses and adding security features to those licenses themselves.
If a state was not in compliance, that states issued driver's licenses would not be valid for clearing airport security or entering federal buildings. This prompted many New Mexicans to get passports before the Jan. 15, 2013 deadline.
However, the Department of Homeland Security announced that only 13 states had become REAL ID compliant and with the Jan. deadline looming, a delay was the fairest thing to do.
"They’re still saying Real ID is a reality," said New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla, who oversees the MVD. "It's just not a reality on Jan. 15th."
According to a press release, DHS will release a schedule next fall that will outline when states not following the REAL ID law would feel real pain.
Padilla says New Mexico still has to sort out some database issues with its license and ID system to come into compliance with the law, but she also says the biggest sticking point is still a state law that allows illegal immigrants to receive New Mexico licenses.
"Until we repeal that law, that's one hurdle we're not going to be able to cross in our progression that we're currently making," Padilla said.
New Mexico's congressional delegation praised the REAL ID delay, although Sen. Tom Udall (D - NM) said in a statement the announcement should have come much earlier.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.