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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Homeland Security|Blinks Over REAL ID

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Department of Homeland Security has indefinitely stayed a Jan. 1, deadline, which will allow federal agencies to continue to accept state driver's licenses and identification cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights, and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.

This action is in response to notifications from 46 of 56 U.S. states and territories that their state issued drivers' licenses and ID cards will not meet federally mandated security enhancements by Jan. 1.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 has been controversial since it was passed as an unfunded mandate and Montana governor Brian Schweitzer (D) led a states' rebellion against the act which included provisions requiring all ID holders under 50 to reapply with certified birth certificates and marriage certificates, and required the states to verify the validity of each document presented.

None of the 50 states met the first deadline for compliance in May 2008, and several adopted resolutions opposing the measure as an intrusion on states' rights and the privacy rights of their citizens.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the act for privacy advocates was a requirement that the states share their Department of Motor Vehicles databases with each other and the Federal Government which some groups considered tantamount to the creation of a national ID card.

The agency did not issue a new compliance date but has said that it will continue to work with the states on the issue.

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