White Sands Missile Range visitors who were accustomed to showing their New Mexico driver’s license to get into the installation will now need to bring an additional form of identification in order to enter the installation. On Jan. 11 it was announced that New Mexico, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington State, and American Samoa were no longer REAL ID compliant and no longer had an extension from the implementation.
“The document is what I have to stand by,” said WSMR Directorate of Emergency Services, Chief Don Morrison.
The REAL ID Act of 2005 establishes minimum standards for the production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting, for official use, driver licenses and identity cards from states unless the Department of Homeland Security determines the state meets set standards. An additional 23 states are pursuing compliance and have been extended until Oct. 10. The State of New Mexico is attempting to pass a Bill to address this issue through the next session of the New Mexico Legislature.
“We’re complying with the act but our main focus is for the person to be identified as the person they say they are,” Morrison said. If a visitor requesting access to WSMR does not have a REAL ID Act compliant form of identification they must be able to provide supplemental identity proofing documents. Supplemental identity proofing documents include but are not limited to: a Department of Defense Common Access Card, U.S. Passports or Passport cards, a Federal Identification Card, a Transportation Worker Identification Card, a Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Registration Card, an employment authorization form with a photograph, identification cards issued by Federal, State, and local government agencies, Native American Tribal documents, a U.S. Military or Draft Record, a U.S. Social Security Card, a certification of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State, a U.S. Citizen Identification card, or an identification card for use of resident citizen in the U.S.
“If you have other forms of identification with your name on it, please bring it with you. Anything you can bring with you to supplement their identification will be extremely helpful,” Morrison said.
Individuals who have provided proper form of identification must still be vetted through the National Crime Information Center prior to being issued a locally produced identification or pass. If an individual does not pass the NCIC vetting process he or she will not be allowed onto the installation.
“We will continue to run background checks even if you present an identification from a Real ID State,” Morrison said.
WSMR Visitor Center employees said they have not seen a difference in foot traffic since the Real ID implementation. Visitor Center Clerk Steve Mondragon said most people usually have a second form of identification on them already. If not, Mondragon said they make a simple call to have someone bring them a form of identification or return home to obtain their second form of identification. Mondragon said he has not seen any major issues arise yet. Mondragon recommends visitors to call ahead to learn about the proper forms of identification that will be acceptable.
“It’s our job to explain to people that they need to bring the identifications required. It’s important to comply with the different forms of identification. It will be easier on them and us,” said WSMR Vehicle Reception Clerk Jerry Lewis. All locally produced identifications and passes for WSMR created before Jan. 10 will continue to be valid until their identified expiration date. For additional questions or concerns, contact Rick Koehler, Physical Security at (575) 678-8602. For the most current information concerning state-by-state compliance with the REAL ID Act, please visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.
For more information on the types of identifications accepted call the WSMR Visitor Center at (575) 678-5605/1302.