DHS setting new deadlines for Real ID

Guidance coming shortly for states to comply

States and territories are getting a reprieve from the looming Dec. 31 deadline for compliance with the Real ID Act drivers’ license standardization requirements. The Homeland Security Department has agreed to extend the deadline for at least 10 states and territories that previously had not informed DHS that they would not meet the deadline. The new deadlines for this group will be determined in the next several weeks, Matt Chandler, deputy press secretary for DHS, said today.

“We did not want to set an arbitrary new deadline,” Chandler said. “We will be working with the states to pick a date.” Guidance will be released shortly, he added.

To date, 46 of the 56 states and territories had informed DHS that they would not be able to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. Those states have been granted extensions for full compliance until May 10, 2011.

Last week, DHS extended the deadline for all states and territories.

In a written statement, DHS officials said they granted the extension in part to avoid disrupting holiday travel. One such disruption would have been difficulties in boarding commercial aircraft. Once Real ID is in full effect, only federally recognized documents, including Real ID-compliant drivers’ licenses, will be eligible for identification purposes in boarding at airports.

On Dec. 16, the National Governors Association wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging her to extend the Dec. 31 compliance deadline.

“With at least 36 states unable to meet the December 31, 2009, deadline for compliance with REAL ID, action is needed to ensure Americans are able to use their driver’s licenses to board commercial aircraft this holiday season,” the governors wrote in the Dec. 16 letter.

Real ID, which Congress approved in 2005, has been controversial because many consider it an unfunded mandate and a possible threat to privacy. Under Real ID, states must collect personal information from drivers, store the information and electronically share it with other states. More than 20 states have passed legislation or nonbinding resolutions that oppose or reject Real ID.

Napolitano has supported legislation under consideration in Congress known as the Pass ID Act, that would loosen some of the requirements of Real ID.

On Dec. 8, DHS officials announced applications are available for $48 million in grants under the Driver’s License Security Grant Program. The program is intended to help states and territories improve security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in order to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud and enhance the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, Jan 28, 2010 Ethan Oklahoma (REAL ID compliance is illegal here)

First comment has it right. The United States has no legal basis or reason to issue a de facto national ID card. In Oklahoma we have made REAL ID compliance illegal (SB 464), officially because it would impose extreme costs to implement that we are not capable or willing to take on. Unofficially and in public opinion we refuse to comply because the US has no businesses messing with how we govern the privilege of driving in our State, or how we choose to issue forms of identification. Oklahoma is a sovereign State, according to our constitution (and according to common sense), and we are getting tired of the United States stepping on our sovereignty by legislating in areas unrelated to it's commission (as defined in the United States Constitution). Oklahoma will govern itself in every area that we have not willing submitted to the United States through the US Constitution. I love this country insofar as it functions as it properly and legally may (as defined by the US Constitution). I have loved living in several states, and I'm a proud citizen of the United States. But before and above that, I'm a proud citizen of the State of Oklahoma.

Tue, Jan 19, 2010

Your missing the point. Although "Real ID" will eventually be replaced by "PASS ID" by DHS, this program is "intended to help states and territories improve security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in order to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud and enhance the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents." Unless you would rather not have this lvel of security in our nation's id card system, then feel free to move to Iran where they put you in jail for not complying with their state-run laws and speaking out against the government. Yeah, feel free to stand in front of us troops in Iraq/Afghanistan next time you decide to compare America to communism.

Wed, Jan 6, 2010

Yup, just like all good communist countries we need the federal government to issue us "Offical Papers" to keep track of us. What idiot thinks this would fix anything? Oh yeah, Congress...

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