DHS extends deadline for Real ID implementation
States now have an extra 20 months to comply with the federal Real ID Act, which requires state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to meet federal standards to be accepted for federal purposes. On March 4, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano extended the May 11, 2011, deadline for states to be in full compliance to Jan. 15, 2013, a move welcomed by the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Real ID was established at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, which was formed in November 2002 to review the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and recommend ways to improve national security. Part of the commission’s 2004 report called for creating federal standards for issuing secure identifications, such as driver’s licenses. Since the act was passed in 2005, many states have called for its repeal because of concerns of privacy and cost. DHS previously estimated the cost of Real ID implementation at $23.1 billion over a 10-year period, with $10 billion to $14 billion coming from states.
NCSL said in a statement that it applauds the deadline extension. “State legislators have always shared a strong commitment to ensuring the security and safety of our nation and our citizens. We look forward to working with [DHS] in the coming months on additional guidance for states on compliance and to ensure the act is implemented in a cost effective and feasible manner with maximum safety and minimum inconvenience for all Americans,” the NCSL statement reads.