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Mississippi becomes REAL ID compliant, deadline postponed

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Mississippi joined 20 other states in REAL ID compliance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Coalition For A Secure Driver License announced on Friday. And the deadline for compliance, with regard to air travel, has been postponed until 2016.

A press release from the department said, "DHS has determined that forty-one states and territories are either fully compliant with the REAL ID standards or have made sufficient progress to qualify for an extension."

The other 20 states that are fully compliant are: Alabama, Hawaii, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia,Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Previously, the department said that those born on or after Dec. 1, 1964 will have until Dec. 1, 2014 to obtain a REAL ID to board commercial flights, enter federal buildings, etc. However, on Friday, the department said, "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards from all jurisdictions until at least 2016. DHS will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change."

According to the department's schedule of enforcement phases, "A driver’s license or identification card from a noncompliant state may only be used in conjunction with an acceptable second form of ID for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft." In other words, in 2016, if your state is not REAL ID compliant, you may have to use a U.S. passport to fly within the United States.

Coalition for a Secure Driver License President Brian Zimmer said: "We are strongly encouraged that REAL ID enforcement will finally get underway so all states get the message that consequences for non-compliance will soon start to affect their residents. The phased approach should ensure that the public is well informed that enforcement is coming. The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License congratulates the twenty-one currently compliant states for moving forward to provide their residents with secure driver's licenses. People in REAL ID compliant states probably won't even notice these enforcement steps. By contrast, residents of non-compliant states will need to make adjustments, including obtaining other proofs of identity, like passports. Their only alternative will be to forgo access to secure federal facilities or forgo commercial air travel. For example, they can travel by train."

The REAL ID Act was signed in to law in 2005 by President George W. Bush. It was a recommended change by the 9/11 Commission. However, eight years later, it still isn't fully implemented. And, according to the National Immigration Law Center, none of the 9/11 hijackers used fake IDs, but seven of them used "false statements of residency" to obtain theirs in Virginia.

The states, and territories, that DHS granted an extension to are: Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia.

Non-compliant states and territories are: Alaska, American Somoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Washington. However, Enhanced Driver Licenses could be accepted in place of the REAL ID for New York and Washington.

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