New Mexico on Tuesday launched a new standard driver’s license, streamlining the process for the less-stringent option of the state’s two-tiered licensing system.
The standard license does not meet the requirements of the U.S. Real ID Act, meaning it may not be valid for boarding commercial airline flights starting in October 2020 if the act is fully enforced.
The less stringent license option follows a lawsuit alleging that the previous requirements unfairly denied basic identification cards to immigrants, homeless people and others.
“This has been a long struggle for immigrant families and our allies,” Marcela Díaz of Somos un Pueblo Unido, an immigrant-led advocacy group, told the Albuquerque Journal. “This has been 10 years in coming.”
Among the changes to the application for the less stringent license option is an expanded the list of documents acceptable as proof of residence.
The two licenses will be treated equally in New Mexico.
Stephanie Schardin Clarke, secretary of the state Taxation and Revenue Department, told the Journal that the new law means the state is “offering a standard driver’s license without stigma and without unnecessary hoops to jump through to be able to have a legal driving credential in New Mexico.”
Almost 650 standard driver’s licenses had been issued by Tuesday afternoon, Motor Vehicle Division Director Alicia Ortiz told the Journal.