WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE? As New Mexico drivers transition to Real ID licenses and are required to present various documents (a full list is at mvd.newmexico.gov), the question arises, what if you simply never had the stuff required?
Robert Romero emails that “now comes a complication that is experienced by quite a few of us. By us I mean those of a generation who grew up in rural communities that did not receive the same or experience many common customs that related to childbirth – (as in) 1930-1940s Santa Rosa N.M., Guadalupe County. When we were born it was not at a hospital, but at home, which was in a rural community. For whatever reason our births were not recorded immediately, so consequently we do not have an original birth certificate. Our identification was formalized at a church ceremony, in many cases a baptism and not necessarily in the same year.”
Robert says, “Most of us carry a first, middle and surname, these names were mostly used to honor someone from the family past so at times they were long and odd sounding. For example: Roberto became Beto, Robert, Bert, Bob or Bobby. Elias became Eli, Lee or Leo. Edivigen became Edie, Vi, Vicky, Helen or Ellen. Our parents or guardians gave us a name, and that was all we had.
“The dilemma started as we grew older and merged into a modern society that influenced or altered a name to conform to familial, society or professional standards. This started the problem. Juxtaposing the current requirements to obtain identification, when my generation grew up it was commonplace to go to the Social Security office and use whatever name we had and in turn were issued a card.”
So now, with Real ID, what are Robert and his contemporaries supposed to do when they have no paper trail to verify their names?
Robert says, “I was recommended to get a delayed birth certificate. I went to our state’s bureau of vital statistics, adhered to what was required and returned to the post office. After acquiring the delayed certificate I was told it was no good either since it is not an original. … Again, I asked how do I remedy this? I was advised by the vital statistics office to find a relative or person who knew my family at the time of my birth who can verify who I am. Bigger problem, the people they are suggesting I contact are either dead or senile. So as of today, I have no valid I.D. and can’t get a passport.”
Robert can drive “because I did manage to get a driver authorization license. So the question still remains how do people in this situation get a Real ID? Does someone in the real world have a solution?”
Benjamin Cloutier, who handles information for the state Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees MVD, says “in this case, the customer followed our recommended course of action and acquired a delayed birth certificate, in lieu of an original. However, it appears that the customer was misinformed. A delayed birth certificate issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics is a valid document to present as proof of identity.”
TOO MANY/NOT ENOUGH HIGHWAY STRIPES: David Edgington emails, “There is a really dangerous condition on the interstates, around the Big I especially.
“The tar material that is used to patch cracks in the roads is so reflective that it is very difficult at night to tell where the lane stripes are. Is there a way to use non-reflective material, or to cover the existing material with something dull? Also the lanes need to be re-striped to make them more visible.”
Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3, says, “The material that is used for crack sealing on the interstate is used nationwide and meets all standards for NMDOT specifications. Our traffic section will be notified that there is need for restriping at the Big I.”
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; firstname.lastname@example.org; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.