Yesterday, the Albuquerque Journal editorialized about the very real possibility that, due to the fact that the federal government has refused to extend the requirement that states align themselves with the 2005 REAL ID law, residents of New Mexico will be required to carry a passport in order to get on an airplane. Of course, New Mexico residents are not alone. We’re one of 36 states that haven’t gone along with REAL ID.
Unfortunately, the Journal argues, that if this happens and REAL ID does become the enacted law of the land, they would point the blame at Santa Fe, not Washington. As I wrote a few years ago, REAL ID is an abomination of an unfunded mandate that will cost New Mexico taxpayers $43 million to comply with. If this wasn’t done when times were good back in 2005, it seems hard to believe that New Mexico will come up with this kind of cash now when it faces a massive deficit and tax hikes.
Our Senators, Bingaman and Udall, have weighed in with a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano in support of extending the implementation deadline (and they should be applauded for attempting to forestall the absurdity of forcing millions of Americans to show passports to get on airplanes), but it would be better if they started working to repeal this costly and unnecessary mandate entirely.