DHS releases Real ID regulations, offers deadline extensions
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a preliminary version of regulations for the implementation of the Real ID Act, which establishes national standards for securing the issuance of driver’s licenses. DHS also has offered an extension on the deadline for initial compliance and cleared the way for DHS grant money to be used to fund the implementation.
Many state officials and local government associations have been protesting Real ID, which was passed in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. “These standards correct glaring vulnerabilities exploited by some of the 9/11 [terrorist attacks] hijackers who fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses to board the airplanes in their attack against America,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said while announcing the regulations on March 1. Chertoff also said that states that could not make the original deadline for initial compliance, May 11, 2008, could receive an extension until Dec. 31, 2009.
States are expected to spend $11 billion on implementing Real ID, and so far Congress has appropriated $40 million in aid. Now, states also will be able to use up to 20 percent of their Homeland Security Grant Program funds for Real ID-related expenses.
The National Governor’s Association (NGA) and National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), both based in Washington, released a joint statement saying the deadline extension and extra funding did not go far enough. “NGA and NCSL implore Congress to correct the problems inherent within Real ID and work with states to meet the objectives of the act,” the statement says.
The regulations will be posted on the Federal Register at www.dhs.gov for a 60-day public comment period.