States get 'Real ID' extensions|
By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY
April 4, 2008
The Homeland Security Department announced Wednesday that it has
granted all 50 states extensions to a requirement that they produce
new tamper-proof driver's licenses. The extensions allow people to
continue to use their current licenses to board airplanes and enter
federal buildings until the law requiring more secure licenses begins
to take effect in 2014.
The department granted its final extension to Maine, which along
with more than a dozen other states, has fiercely resisted the new
requirement amid concerns about the privacy implications and costs.
Chertoff unveils new driver's license rules
Despite that resistance, the states were granted extensions after
promising to take — or proving they already had taken —
early steps to improve their licenses. On Wednesday, Maine Gov. John
Baldacci promised to push legislation in his state to stop the practice
of issuing licenses to illegal immigrants.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said it's crucial that
the states with easily forged licenses improve security. "It's one thing
for somebody to get a phony beer with a license, but it's another thing
to allow a terrorist on a plane," he said.
The "REAL ID law" was passed by Congress in 2005 after the 9/11
Commission reported that 18 of the 19 hijackers had obtained driver's
licenses that allowed them to board planes. The law requires states to
make licenses more secure by verifying each applicant's citizenship
and address, sharing information with other state motor vehicle
departments and creating licenses that are more difficult to forge.
Original article: USA Today
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