From “Schindler’s List” to “1984”, it is a scene we expect to see in movies about life in a totalitarian state: “Show me your papers. Your papers are not in order! You may not continue on your journey.”
Beginning in 2018, the REAL ID Act will go into effect, administered by the Department of Homeland Security. This Act, which establishes new requirements and standards for official state and federal personal identification documents.
While about twenty-five states have already redesigned their driver’s licenses to comply with the new federal standard, at least eight have yet to act, with another seventeen having obtained extensions while they move towards compliance.
The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, will no longer allow driver’s licenses from these eight states as valid proof of identification.
The states that do not meet the requirements are Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington State. Citizens of these states will have to produce some other form of valid identification, such as US passports, at airports in order to fly, even domestically.
According to the TSA website, citizens from these eight states may use other forms of compliant identification, such as US passports, US military IDs, permanent resident cards, US Citizenship and Immigration Services employment authorization cards, and DHS-issued “trusted traveler” cards.
In addition to domestic air travel, the REAL ID Act, affects entry into federal buildings and other facilities as well.
According to the website Simplemost.com “As of January 30, 2017, IDs from non-compliant states will not be accepted for entry into federal facilities, nuclear power plants or military bases. IDs from states that have been granted extensions will be accepted until the extension deadline.”
The act was passed in 2005 by the 109th Congress, at the height of our “war on terror.” in addition to setting new standards for state and federal identification cards, it also changed visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens, funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security, and waived laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders. It also introduced new guidelines for the issuance of delivery bonds. These are similar to traditional bail bonds but are designed for non-citizens who have been released from custody pending trials.
How do you feel about these laws? Is “national security” worth giving up essential freedoms, or is this a step too far? Share your thoughts and views with us here.