As Americans begin counting down to the beginning of 2016, the Transportation Security Agency is beginning its own countdown for its enforcement of Real ID Act Rules.
Starting January 10, Alaska, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington would be out of compliance with requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses used as identification at airports. Despite the deep concerns about privacy and fears over potential misuse of the national database that is to be created from information collected during the license compliance process, the TSA is now going to strong-arm states to comply.
…The federal government cannot force states to adopt these identification standards, but it can gain compliance in other ways. In October, it began requiring that visitors to military bases, nuclear plants and federal facilities produce a driver’s license from a state that complies with the law, or show another form of government ID, like a passport.
But the biggest leverage the government has over the states is commercial air travel.
The Department of Homeland Security said it would provide a schedule by the end of this year for when airport screeners would start accepting only driver’s licenses that complied with federal standards.
Previously, Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington (as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands) had been granted exemptions to the Real ID requirements, but they expire in less than two weeks. The DHS has already refused to renew exemptions for Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington and said it wouldn’t renew them for other states.
The following video report details the potential impact on Illinois travelers:
The only break most travelers will be getting is that the agency is giving 120 days’ notice before starting to enforce the law at airports. After mid-May, the agency will begin full implementation of Real ID Act rules.
That is, unless you are Californian! The Golden State is getting until October to comply with the enhanced ID rules.
The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that the federal agency would have until Oct. 10, 2016 to comply with the rules.
California was among several states whose exemption to the law was set to expire on Jan. 10.
“The Department recognizes your efforts in enhancing the security of your jurisdiction’s driver’s licenses and identification cards,” Homeland Security officials said in a letter dated Tuesday.
Given that the Golden State issued licenses for over 100,000 undocumented immigrants in 7 weeks this past year, we will need every minute until the new October deadline to prepare.
What happens once that compliance deadline is passed? Approved ID’s such as passports would be required.
“A lot of people cannot afford a passport. I mean, that would be a big cut out of their budget,” Fairfield resident Brenda Thompson said.
“It is kind of a pain,” said Michael Coughlin, of Merced. “It’s like what? I’ve got to have a passport to travel from here to Denver or from here to New York? I mean, c’mon. I’m not leaving the country.”
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