The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) certified 19 states as REAL ID compliant, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License (CSDL) said today. The CSDL said that REAL ID compliant driver licenses and IDs are part of "a multi-layered national security strategy that aids law enforcement to distinguish reliable state credentials from states with lax identity authentication."
On Dec. 20, 2012, DHS said that Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming met the requirements. Today, Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and Vermont have been added to that list.
CSDL President Brian Zimmer said: "The country is safer today because more than a third of all states are compliant with the 39 individual rules that are essentially security standards. Taken together, 30% of the adult population will soon be carrying a genuinely secure driver's license. In addition to meeting the 9/11 Commission recommendations regarding secure standards for reliable identity documents, this progress will help to reduce fraud wherever proof of identity is a key to state or federal benefits. The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License congratulates the compliant states who provide their residents with important protections against identity fraud."
In 2012, Tennessee's Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons requested $600,000 from the state to help fund the image verification system (facial recognition) which will be used as part of REAL ID compliance.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said that he does not support the act because it essentially turns driver licenses into national ID cards. He called the act an "unfunded federal mandate imposed on the states."
"Obtaining fraudulent identification documents presents an opportunity for terrorists to board airplanes, rent cars, open bank accounts, or conduct other activities without being detected. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the Federal Government work with other layers of government to solidify the security of government-issued documents," DHS' website states.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, the 9/11 hijackers obtained 13 driver licenses and 21 federal or state-issued IDs. None of them were forged. However, seven hijackers used "false statements of residency" to obtain IDs in Virginia. And all of the hijackers entered the United States legally. Nearly eight years after the REAL ID Act was signed into law, Virginia is still not in compliance.
Those born on or after Dec. 1, 1964 will have until Dec. 1, 2014 to obtain one. People born before Dec. 1, 1964 will have until Dec. 1, 2017 to obtain the new ID. Without the REAL ID, citizens won't be able to board commercial flights, enter nuclear power plants, or enter federal buildings.