Skip to comments.Chertoff: ID must comply to fly (Real ID showdown may less likely)
Posted on 03/21/2008 4:38:55 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Homeland security officials on Friday hinted at a possible face-saving deal to end their standoff with a handful of states over new driver's license rules a dispute that, left unresolved, could cause big air travel headaches.
For weeks, the Homeland Security Department has been headed toward a showdown with some states over a law called Real ID, which would require new security measures for state-issued driver's licenses. Yet a late Good Friday letter from a top DHS official suggested Washington may be backing away from a messy fight.
South Carolina, Maine and Montana are the only states that have not sought extensions to comply, or already started toward compliance with Real ID, which was passed after the 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
On Friday, the federal agency granted Montana an extension, even though state officials didn't ask for one and insist they will not adhere to the Real ID law.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer told The Associated Press that DHS "painted themselves in a corner."
A fourth state, New Hampshire, has asked to be exempted, but Homeland Security officials have not found that letter legally acceptable, so the Granite State has not received an extension.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had warned that if holdout states do not send a letter by the end of March seeking an extension, come May, residents of such states will no longer be able to use their driver's licenses as valid ID to board airplanes or enter federal buildings.
Such travelers would instead have to present a passport or be subjected to secondary screening.
Five senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Jon Tester and Max Baucus of Montana, and John Sununu of New Hampshire appealed to Chertoff last week to exempt all 50 states from the looming deadline.
Chertoff responded that it was not he but Congress that picked the date when the law went into effect in 2005.
"You may disagree with the foregoing law, but I cannot ignore it," Chertoff said in the letter.
The law, he said, is necessary for national security according to recommendations from the commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Yet hours after Chertoff sent those letters Friday, DHS Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker wrote to the attorney general of Montana, saying that even though the state was explicitly not seeking an extension, it would be granted one anyway. Baker reasoned the state's new license security measures already met many of the Real ID requirements anyway.
"I can only provide the relief you are seeking by treating your letter as a request for an extension," Baker wrote.
Schweitzer, Montana's Democratic governor, said his state had not backed down.
"We sent them a horse. If they choose to call it a zebra, that is their business," said Schweitzer.
The agency's approach to Montana could provide an easy way out for the remaining states resistant to Real ID and suggests the federal government doesn't want to go ahead with its plan to conduct extra screening on residents of certain states.
If the two sides can't cut a face-saving deal, Chertoff has offered a blunt warning to those critics who claim the government is bluffing. "Showing up at the airport with only a driver's license from such a state will be no better than showing up without identification," he wrote to the senators. "No doubt this will impel many to choose the inconvenience of traveling with a passport."
The end of the standoff with Montana does not necessarily mean the entire fight is over.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was considering legal action, and the state's attorney general was preparing an opinion on whether the governor would have a case if he decided to sue the federal government. A spokesman for Attorney General Henry McMaster said the opinion will be released Monday.
Chertoff has offered a plan to gradually implement Real ID requirements over a period of 10 years, so that eventually all driver's licenses would have several layers of security features to prevent forgery. They would also be issued only after a number of identity checks, including immigration status and verification of birth certificates.
Critics of the plan say it is too expensive, an invasion of privacy, and won't actually make the country safer.
The nazification of America continues.
Also, Real IDs will be difficult for illegal aliens to counterfeit.
I think that drivers licenses that don’t meet the real ID requirements should not be valid for driving in states whose licenses do comply.
“You may disagree with the foregoing law, but I cannot ignore it,” Chertoff said in the letter.
ROTFLMAO. Does this also apply to the fence along the border?
I live in Maine, and I’m glad my state has told Chertoff to stick it.
When the border fence with the road down the middle is built from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.....when active duty Army and Marine Corps units are stationed along the border.....when anyone and everyone who entered the United States illegally is booted out.....when illegals stop receiving health care, education, food stamps, etc. that is paid for by the native born, hard working taxpayers.....then we’ll talk “Real ID” (which I suspect is a backdoor National ID card). Until then, the federal government can screw off.
“Also, Real IDs will be difficult for illegal aliens to counterfeit.”
If that’s true, I can’t understand why Chertoff is in favor of Read Ids.
There is some opposition to Real ID, but there is more opposition to linking Real ID to the employee verification system. Also there is opposition to punishing these states that don't sign on before the cut-off date by denying them future grant money to offset the state's cost of implementing Real ID.
This played out last summer in the Baucus-Testor amendment #1236 when the Senate was considering the immigration reform bill. The Gang of 12 tried and failed to table the Baucus-Testor amendment. The amendment never got a vote because the Grassley-Obama amendment passed first and killed the bill.
Honestly, I’d rather have a few planes crash and burn than be required to show ID to travel in the United States.
No, it only applies to the laws our tyrants wish to impose on us.
Wow! I think everyone should be I.D.
If you have to show your I.D. you before you can get in some drinking establishments airplanes should not be any different.
Herr Chertoff, if you enforced border security, and stopped Muslims from easy entry, we would be secure. If every American needs a real ID for security, then you don't trust Americans. Let's be honest, Homeland Security is for the Ability of the Government to control the law abiding Americans. It's like gun control.
It isn't the ID, it's all the back door, big brother crap that goes along with it.
More and more of this crap going on tells me one thing: The terrorist are winning. 9/11 wasn't just about crashing planes into buildings. It was about dismantling our freedoms and way of life. Building up "Big Brother" plays right into those plans.
What happened to the full faith and credit clause of the constitution?
If states don't have to recognize other state's driver's licenses, for whatever reason, then why shouldn't our state require that you apply for, pay the fee, and obtain a New Hampshire license when you want to drive through our state? Sounds like a great way to balance our budget since every vehicle that enters or leaves Maine has to drive through our state.
The entire premise of a national ID card -- which is what the Real ID really is -- is pointless, except as a way to expand federal control over law abiding US citizens. Note that if your state (rightly) refuses to play along then you have to use your passport to travel internally in the USA. That's odd, I thought passports were for international travel. Now it looks like the federal government is saying residents of our state have to use our passports to travel by air outside of our state. I guess now were only a 3/5ths part of the nation. Can we put up a customs station at the airport and charge duties to folks arriving from the other states?
The Congress has the power to enact laws regulating the standards for how state acts are to be recognized by other states. The Defense of Marriage Act specifically allows states not to recognize same sex marriages recorded in other states. You really ought to read the relevant constitutional text rather than just refer to it.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
The criminal fascist syndicate occupying Washington can go to hell.
And Bush and his freedom-robbing congress can hitch their wagon to the train and follow.
If one were to allow states to selectively honor out of state driver's licenses, as you propose, then surely our state and others could choose to selectively honor out of state driver's licenses as well. That would be a swell situation, wouldn't it. As you drove across the country you'd have to stop at each state border and obtain a new license.
I'm not saying that the states selectively honor or not honor out of state drivers licenses for the hell of it. I'm saying that if a state meets the Real ID requirements, federal law should allow them to not honor out of state licenses that don't meet those criteria.