Saturday, February 16, 2013


As the Southwest Airlines commercials used to say,

"You are now free to move about the country."

And now I am.

I got my passport in the mail yesterday; it came much faster than I expected. The state department website said processing would take 4-6 weeks, but from the day I went to the post office and filled out the application until yesterday when I received it in the mail, it was only 12 days!

I figure they're processing the New Mexico applicants faster because no one knows how long a New Mexico drivers license will be sufficient to get on an airplane, even for domestic flights, or go into a federal building, etc.

We can thank the New Mexico Legislature for refusing to repeal the law that allows illegal immigrants to get a New Mexico drivers license. That means our state (as well as 36 others) is not in compliance with the Homeland Security's Real ID Act. Homeland Security keeps granting extensions, but they've been doing that for years and they're not happy about it. Previously, they've granted extensions for one year, but this time (in January) they wouldn't say how long the extension will last.

I have to say, I was very impressed with how fast I got the passport. It's even a halfway decent photo of me (and I hate most photos of me), courtesy of the friendly postal employee.


Barbara said...

Now all you have to worry about if you travel to Virginia is changing your money.

Not quite that drastic and not quite yet, but this bizarre bill is actually under serious consideration in the Virginia General Assembly:

Beth said...

That is bizarre, even more so than Texas threatening to secede (which sounds like something Texans would want to do).

Marian said...

Glad you are now free to do interstate travel, Beth. Hope to see you soon!

I don't understand why you as an American have to carry a passport to travel in America, though. I thought the driver's license is just to show that you are the person who is traveling on that ticket. Why does it matter if you are legal or illegal? Is it against the law for illegal immigrants to fly? As long as you have to prove who you are to get a driver's license, it should suffice as ID.

Beth said...

The purpose of the Real ID Act is to keep terrorists off of airplanes and out of federal buildings and nuclear plants. So issuing drivers licenses to illegals presents a security problem.

There's a very long and detailed explanation of the Real ID Act on wikipedia if anyone is really interested.

Elle said...

Wonderful to have a passport even if it is pretty silly to have to have one for air travel. Our local new station tried out the regional airports to see if their people could get on a plane without a drivers license or passport...and they could. One used a library card with a photo, one a student ID with photo and both worked as ID! Makes you wonder sometimes...

Beth said...

Elle, that's scary. One time when I was in college, I couldn't even get into a bar with my student ID with a photo! They wanted a drivers license, which I hadn't gotten yet. The bar was in DC and the ID was from my college in NC, but they said any student ID wasn't official enough, even though it showed my birthdate.