Homeland Security bows to Real ID outcry
by Declan McCullagh
Americans will be able to use their driver’s licenses after May 11 to travel by air after all.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today postponed the effective date of the Real ID Act until January 15, 2013, a move that avoided causing tremendous disruptions to air travel.
The reason that Homeland Security granted the delay is that, apart from some Republican stalwarts in Congress, this law creating a digital nationalized ID is hardly popular, with critics calling it a national ID card. A chart (PDF) updated last month by the National Conference of State Legislatures lists 16 states with laws forbidding them to comply with Real ID and eight states including Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois that have enacted resolutions effectively boycotting it.
Once the regulations take full effect, the impact on Americans would be dramatic: Residents of those 24 states including Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, and Washington would not be able to use their drivers’ licenses to fly or enter a federal building such as a courthouse, even for jury duty. U.S. passports or military IDs would remain valid for identification.
Real ID supporters among the House Republican chairmen reacted angrily to the news of the delay — the third to date. (See CNET coverage of the previous deadline extension and a related FAQ.)