Nuclear Labs in New Mexico May Require Passports for Entry
The Los Alamos National Laboratory is looking into options after the federal government denied New Mexico an extension from tougher federal requirements on state driver's licenses, including requiring U.S. passports for entry.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory said late that visitors would need U.S. passports for entry if the state does not start mandating proof of legal U.S. residency for driver's license applicants, a requirement under the federal REAL ID Act. Sandia Labs also said they would need an alternative government-issued form of identification, reported AP.
The Department of Homeland Security has denied New Mexico an extension from implementing REAL ID rules passed in 2005. The decision means state driver's licenses will no longer be accepted at federal facilities starting Jan. 10, reported AP.
New Mexico allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses. State lawmakers have been at a standstill over how to respond to the changes amid the threat that federal officials would not grant an extension.
Los Alamos National Laboratory spokesman Matt Nerzig said the lab has been coordinating with the U.S. Department of Energy on how to comply with the REAL ID Act, said AP.
"Should the state of New Mexico not come into compliance with the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act by January 10, Los Alamos National Laboratory will have alternative access control options in place, such as a valid U.S. passport, for when individuals present IDs from non-compliant states or territories," Nerzig said.
Sandia Labs spokeswoman Heather Clark also said it was in contact with the Energy Department, reported AP. "Sandia will be communicating directly with our visitors, contractors and colleagues to provide them with information about how to comply with the REAL ID Act to complete our badging process," Clark said.