An House bill aimed at bringing New Mexico driver’s licenses into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act is advancing in Santa Fe. It would allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver’s privilege cards instead of a driver's license.
The driver’s privilege permit, under House Bill 99, would be good for one year and applicants would have to pay to be fingerprinted. The prints would then be checked against criminal-record databases.
Applicants would also have to get a photo from the Department of Public Safety and prove they are current residents of New Mexico.
Some immigrant rights advocates say a driver’s privilege card would be discriminatory. And Democratic House Minority Leader Brian Egolf told the Albuquerque Journal that they could be problematic for people going through checkpoints in southern New Mexico.
The Senate is considering a different bill that would allow New Mexicans to choose between two state licenses, one of which would be REAL ID-complaint and unavailable to people in the country illegally.