Skip to comments.House Republicans attempt to revive Real ID
Posted on 03/04/2011 12:21:58 PM PST by Palter
If you're a resident of one of at least 24 states including Arizona, Georgia, and Washington, your driver's license may no longer be valid for boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings as of May 11, 2011.
That's the deadline that senior House Republicans are calling on the Obama administration to impose, saying states must be required to comply with so-called Real ID rules creating a standardized digital identity card that critics have likened to a national ID.
The political problem for the GOP committee chairmen is that the 2005 Real ID Act has proven to be anything but popular: legislatures of two dozen states have voted to reject its requirements, and in the Michigan and Pennsylvania legislatures one chamber has done so.
That didn't stop the House Republicans from saying in a letter this week to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that "any further extension of Real ID threatens the security of the United States." Unless Homeland Security grants an extension, the law's requirements take effect on May 11.
"If they don't, people won't be able to use their driver's licenses to get on airplanes," says Molly Ramsdell, who oversees state-federal affairs for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They can use a military ID. They can use some other federal ID. But they won't be able to use a driver's license." (See CNET's FAQ.)
The situation represents a setback to Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), who championed Real ID as a way to identify terrorists and criminals. But instead of what supporters hoped would be a seamless shift to a nationalized ID card, the requirements have created a confusing patchwork of state responses--with some legislatures forbidding their motor vehicle administration from participating--and could herald chaos at airports unrivaled by any other recent change to federal law.
Sensenbrenner and two colleagues, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), said in their letter that "until Real ID is fully implemented, terrorists will continue to exploit this vulnerability to accomplish heinous purposes. The "importance of the immediate implementation of Real ID" is paramount, they said, and warned Napolitano not to extend the May 11 deadline.
If Napolitano does not, air travelers from non-Real ID states would at least be subjected to what Homeland Security delicately calls "delays" and "enhanced security screening," or perhaps even be denied boarding. In addition, driver's licenses from non-Real ID states could no longer be used to access "federal facilities," including military academies, the Pentagon, Treasury Department, the U.S. Capitol, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and some federal courthouses.
"Individuals with a driver's license from a state that is not materially compliant with Real ID would need to go through a secondary screening" at airports, Wendy Riemann, Sensenbrenner's communications director, told CNET yesterday. "I'm told this is what happens now if you were on vacation and lost your wallet and had to board a plane." Riemann declined to answer what would happen inside federal buildings and courthouses, saying "I'm not about to get into hypotheticals."
From the House Republicans' perspective, the rules are clear: Real ID was signed on May 11, 2005, by President Bush, and federal agencies have had nearly six years to comply. The vote in Congress was overwhelmingly in favor of the law, part of a broader "war on terror" spending and tsunami relief bill that was approved unanimously by the Senate and by a vote of 368 to 58 in the House of Representatives. (Real ID cleared the House by a 261 to 161 vote as a standalone bill without hearings or debate.)
Since its enactment, its backers have been aggressively defending Real ID, noting that many of the hijackers on September 11, 2001, were able to fraudulently obtain U.S. driver's licenses. Because Real ID links state DMV databases, establishes a standard bar code that can be digitally scanned, and mandates that original documents such as birth certificates be verified, backers claim the benefits extend beyond antiterror and ID fraud cases. (Extending it to firearm and prescription drug sales has not been ruled out.)
Many state governments have seen it differently and have responded by flatly refusing to abide by the federal requirements on privacy, federalism, and funding grounds. What started in early 2006 with a revolt in New Hampshire morphed into a full-scale rebellion, with dozens of states adoption opting out.
A chart (PDF) updated last month by the National Conference of State Legislatures lists 16 states with laws forbidding compliance with Real ID and eight states including Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois that have enacted resolutions opposing it.
NCSL's Ramsdell says, however, that those numbers are a low estimate. "The question is: How many states DHS has deemed to be in compliance? At this point the answer is none," she says.
Complicating the situation is that, during the Bush administration, Homeland Security was an unabashed champion of Real ID. But under the Obama administration, the department has been far less effusive in its support of the law, and Napolitano has been quoted as talking about repealing Real ID in hopes of replacing it with something that "accomplishes some of the same goals." (As Arizona governor, Napolitano signed a law forbidding the state from complying with Real ID.)
Another delay is what Sensenbrenner, Smith, and King are worried about--which is effectively what happened just before a May 11, 2008, deadline. Their letter argues that last week's arrest in Texas of Khalid Aldawsari on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction "underscores the importance" of implementing Real ID immediately.
A criminal complaint (PDF) against Aldawsari alleges that he created a "synopsis of important steps" that included obtaining a forged U.S. birth certificate and obtaining a driver's license. Those documents could be used to rent cars and place explosives. But there's no evidence Aldawsari actually began the process of obtaining fraudulent documents or would have succeeded.
The practical difficulties of implementing Real ID in only 10 weeks makes the House Republicans' letter political posturing, says Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.
"Real ID was an unserious law, passed without a hearing in the House or Senate," Harper said. "This is an unserious letter, sent without regard for the consequences if the DHS did what they ask."
ACLU's chart shows status of the Real ID rebellion among individual states as of 2009. (Credit: ACLU)
This remark will be repeated often: “I’ll get a ‘real ID’ when Obummer gets one!”
“any further extension of Real ID threatens the security of the United States.”
With so much really important work to do the Stupid Party chooses a fight w/ the American people. Theres NO substantive diff between the tards and GOP. Its way past time to fire the entire lot in DC.
However, protecting our border doesn’t seem to bother either party so much...and that IS a national security issue.
Obama will never do it. Would make life just too danged complicated for all of the illegals out there.
The excuses from the Left don't pass the smell test. Fraud in Entitlements/Welfare collections would be hard-hit, and that's their voterbase (along with illegals).
No ID Cards for dead voters, either....
I prefer to fly with people whose ID seems to have some link to reality. I prefer all the others to walk ~ don’t even like ‘em on the road.
Here's what happens ~ I GO BERSERK and bring in other passengers to help hold you down while we ascertain your identity.
We see that imitation ID of yours and you could get hurt.
There's no more BS allowed on airplanes ~ and even if you think TSA is your enemy, you haven't seen what the passengers think about doing ~ it's not pretty.
If Republicans were going to use this idea for the purpose of making sure illegals could not vote, collect welfare, etc it would be one thing. But as you don’t have the GUTS for that, I’ll pass on your ID crap fellas.
I prefer to fly without wasting an hour having to go through the State Sponsored “Security Theater” via the TSA which is nothing more than a government jobs program.
If Republicans were going to use this idea for the purpose of making sure illegals could not vote, collect welfare, etc it would be one thing. But as you don’t have the GUTS for that, I’ll pass on your ID crap fellas. Isn’t it amazing that states are supposed to recognize the marriage of two faggots in Mass., but not another state’s drivers license!!!
Our nation became second to none without a national ID.
So now citizen have to carry documents that can be verified on the spot, and illegal immigrants can basically say F U and walk.
The feds can take the idea of a nation ID and place it straight up their -—, all the way to their tonsils.
WTH! When I moved from Texas to Ga, I needed by birth certificate, divorce decree from my first marriage, and marriage certificate for my present marriage - all notarized- to obtain a Ga. driver’s license.
What else is needed? Not that I will be boarding a plane, but I might get pulled over as a pedestrian by Homeland Security. (referring to other FR posts).
Have they LOST THEIR FREAKING MINDS?
Have they forgotten November 2010?
We kick statists out left and right, and what do these morons do? ATTEMPT TO REVIVE STATISM!
I am juuuuust about done with the political process. It is nothing but a sham at this point.
Just another movie, another song and dance... like a game of chess when the house is a mess, like a petty-money squabble when your marriage is in trouble, like a football game when there's rioting in the streets. (h/t Timbuk3)
Hmm ~ just don’t get on a plane with me then.
Reward the guilty.
It's the Washington Way.
We would both be safe with or without the minimum wage ‘earning” TSA workers making us strip down, scanning our bodies and wasting our time. The only effect is to help blue-haired old ladies feel a little better about their flight back to Omaha to see their grandchildren who are counting the days when they will finally receive their inheritance.
And if those blue-haired old ladies had the slightest ability to analyze statistics, they would find that since 9/11 there have been more that ten million commercial airline flights in the US all of which began and ended with out incident.
The TSA is nothing but a Nanny State jobs program for the otherwise non employable and this National ID is nothing but a federal intrusion into States’ Rights.
Here's the deal ~ either you let us REMOVE 100% of the Islamofascists and their Democrat friends from this country or you put up with what you feel is intrusive searches of folks boarding airplanes.
I don't care how we do it ~ I want flying safe for ME if not for you!
So, deal? And when do we start.
The FBI couldn’t even identify the anthrax species to say nothing of the Anthrax attackers. I doubt they are able to discern much of anything.
I agree. I hate the idea too. BIG BROTHER. Forget about it
I figure it would take frauds about five minutes to forge “real I.D.” eventually though anyway. Carrying around “your papers” sounds so Nazi Germany to me, like, “Show me your papers”. Isn’t there some biblical admonition about everyone having a “number” to identify themselves.
the biometric or digital face international standards,
of the icao - international civil aviation org,
is hidden in a footnote 17 on p. 68 march, 2007
in the real i.d. act.
also, see aamva.
in sum, american state drivers licenses will comply with an international digital standard for faces.