Tag Archives: REAL ID

DHS Secretary Johnson Announces 2-Year Delay of REAL ID Enforcement at Airports

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced on Friday that the Department of Homeland Security will delay enforcement of the REAL ID Act at airports until Jan. 22, 2018.

Bottom line up front: Effective January 22, 2018, air travelers with a driver’s license or identification card issued by a state that does not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act (unless that state has been granted an extension to comply with the Act) must present an alternative form of identification acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in order to board a commercial domestic flight. Over the next two years, those states that are not REAL ID compliant are strongly encouraged to meet the requirements of the law for the benefit of their residents,” said Sec. Johnson in a statement.

Enforcement of the policy had previously been delayed until Jan. 10, 2016. However, this would have meant that airline passengers from as many as 11 states would have begun being turned away this year by Transportation Security Administration agents at airports unless they could provide an alternative form of ID, such as a passport.

[RELATED: NSA, NDAA, Real ID Act | Rep. Justin Amash says Congress must correct dangerous path]

Sec. Johnson said, “Right now, no individual needs to adjust travel plans, or rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel. Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel.

Finally, we know that some states must change their laws to comply with the REAL ID Act,” added Johnson. “I urge state government leaders to take immediate action to comply with the REAL ID Act, to ensure the continued ability of their residents to fly unimpeded. It is time to move toward final compliance with this law.

[RELATED: Former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate argues against Real ID Act]

The 2005 REAL ID Act, parts of which have been delayed in their implementation many times, requires federal agencies to reject the use of state-issued ID cards that fail to meet minimum standards recommended by the 9/11 Commission as a form of identification.

Sec. Johnson says that Real ID Act enforcement has been activated at nuclear power plants, military bases, and most federal facilities. According to KOAT-TV, some visitors with non-compliant driver’s licenses were turned away at the museum and gift shop of New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range this week.

Some states have resisted REAL ID Act implementation on either cost-related grounds, with critics calling it an unfunded federal mandate, and on civil liberties grounds, with critics opposing national standards that they feel might be incremental steps towards a national ID card.

At present, 23 states are fully compliant with the REAL ID Act, and the Department has used its authority to grant states extensions when they demonstrate steps toward compliance. Thus, 27 states and territories have been granted extensions for a period of time to become compliant. Six states and territories – Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and American Samoa – are noncompliant and do not currently have extensions,” said Sec. Johnson.

In a 2005 speech before Congress stating his opposition to the Real ID Act, former Republican Congressman Ron Paul said according to Antiwar.com, “The REAL ID Act establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driver’s licenses. It contains no limits on the government’s power to impose additional standards. Indeed, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.

Dr. Paul continued, predicting the power struggle between the federal government and some states that is currently unfolding, “Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary.

REAL ID to Go Live in 2016, Drivers’ Licenses from 11 States May Be Rejected By TSA

A law passed in 2005 mandating that drivers’ licenses in all states meet specific security standards recommended by the 9/11 Commission is on pace to take full effect in 2016.

The licensing standard, called REAL ID, has been to varying degrees rejected by several state legislatures, with at least 11 states still issuing drivers’ licenses that are non-compliant with the law. Opponents of the law criticize the REAL ID as a federal power grab and an effort to create a national identification card. Also, privacy advocates have raised concerns about REAL ID’s requirement that all states submit their motor vehicle information to a national database.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

[RELATED: REAL ID to Launch in 2016: TSA Will Force Airline Passengers to Show National ID Before Flying]

So far, people in non-compliant states have been able to board aircraft and enter federal facilities with their drivers’ licenses due to an exemption.

However, nine states and several US territories are due to have their exemption expire on January 10, 2016. The states facing a January expiration are Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands face the same deadline. Minnesota and American Samoa are already listed as non-compliant,” wrote Ars Technica’s Joe Mullin.

He added, “Those states facing the deadline shouldn’t be hopeful for a last-minute reprieve. Local and AP news reports say that DHS has already told officials in Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington that their requests for additional extensions have been denied.

The New York Times notes that New Hampshire and Louisiana have also been granted exemptions which are set to expire in June of 2016.

[RELATED: Former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate argues against Real ID Act]

The federal government has quietly gone around and clubbed states into submission. That’s a pretty heavy club,” said Minnesota State Senator and REAL ID opponent Warren Limmer.

The Department of Homeland Security will reportedly issue a warning to states 120 days in advance of enforcing the rule, which has yet to take place. DHS says that REAL ID enforcement “will begin with a 3-month period where agencies will provide notice to individuals attempting to use driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states but still allow access.

If the federal government does not grant an extension to non-compliant states, individuals in those states will soon be required to use a federally-approved ID such as a passport to board an airplane.

REAL ID to Launch in 2016: TSA Will Force Airline Passengers to Show National ID Before Flying

Most Americans use a state-issued driver’s license as their primary identification card. However, federal-level politicians have pushed throughout history for the implementation of a national ID card, which privacy and states’ rights advocates have argued against as a threat to citizens’ private information or an affront to state authority. Reports of a move towards a national ID card were often dismissed by skeptics as conspiracy theories until 2005, when the REAL ID Act passed into law. However, the REAL ID has experienced significant pushback from many non-compliant states, forcing federal officials to delay its implementation.

Fast forward nearly a decade, and the REAL ID is set to launch in airports across the United States starting in January of 2016. According to KTVN-2, the Transportation Security Administration will no longer accept state-issued driver’s licenses that lack REAL ID compliant features as an accepted form of ID for boarding aircraft after the beginning of next year.

However, the adoption of the REAL ID by citizens is being portrayed as voluntary. Said Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles Public Information Officer David Fierro in comments to KTVN-2, “It is a choice. It’s not mandatory. It’s a choice for secured identification. If you use a passport when you’re traveling you don’t have any problems. If you use your driver’s license as identification, you’ll need to either apply for the REAL ID card or get a passport.” While adoption of the federal REAL ID card by citizens may not be mandatory, those who choose not to get a passport or REAL ID will effectively be barred from airline travel.

REAL ID compliant cards must capture specific identifying details about each person and associate the data with a unique number. Privacy advocates worry that the REAL ID’s information database will eventually merge with other federal data sweeps such as the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system, which stores biometric data on Americans (many of whom have never been suspected of committing a crime), and the National Security Agency’s trove of stolen private online and mobile communications. The cards must also contain an electronic swipe feature allowing machines to read and write to them, raising fears that the REAL ID may be vulnerable to tampering by hackers and identity thieves. Though early versions of the regulations on REAL IDs required that the cards feature an RFID chip, that specific type of technology is no longer explicitly required.

However, some US states, such as Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Idaho, have passed laws against participating in the REAL ID program, meaning state-issued ID cards from those states may not be compliant in time for 2016. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 20-30% of Americans live in jurisdictions that are not compliant with the program, meaning citizens in those areas may no longer be able to use their state-issued driver’s licenses to board aircraft after January 2016. KIVI-TV notes that Idaho legislators are currently scrambling to find a solution to this problem.

The REAL ID’s implementation process is designed to come in four stages, two of which are already complete. The first two phases require the use of compliant cards to get into nuclear power plants and restricted federal facilities. The third phase of implementation, coming in October, mandates the presentation of REAL ID cards in order to enter semi-restricted federal facilities such as courthouses and military bases that require identification for admittance, with a waiver granted for individuals seeking entry to apply for federal benefits. The last phase of implementation, set to begin in January of 2016, will take place during security checks at airports.