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Old 01-11-2008, 08:58 AM
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Default US unveils new driver's license rules

AP


WASHINGTON - Americans born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to get more secure driver's licenses in the next six years under ambitious post-9/11 security rules to be unveiled Friday by federal officials.

The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials.

Even with more time, more federal help and technical advances, REAL ID still faces stiff opposition from civil liberties groups.

To address some of those concerns, the government now plans to phase in a secure ID initiative that Congress passed into law in 2005. Now, DHS plans a key deadline in 2011 when federal authorities hope all states will be in compliance and then further measures to be enacted three years later, according to congressional staffers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not yet been made. DHS officials briefed legislative aides on the details late Thursday.

Without discussing details, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promoted the final rules for REAL ID during a meeting Thursday with an advisory council.

"We worked very closely with the states in terms of developing a plan that I think will be inexpensive, reasonable to implement and produce the results," he said. "This is a win-win. As long as people use driver's licenses to identify themselves for whatever reason there's no reason for those licenses to be easily counterfeited or tampered with."

In order to make the plan more appealing to cost-conscious states, federal authorities drastically reduced the expected cost from $14.6 billion to $3.9 billion, a 73 percent decline, according to Homeland Security officials familiar with the plan.

The American Civil Liberties Union has fiercely objected to the effort, particularly the sharing of personal data among government agencies. The DHS and other officials say the only way to make sure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government data; critics like the ACLU say that creates a system that is more likely to be infiltrated and have its personal data pilfered.

In its written objection to the law, the ACLU claims REAL ID amounts to the "first-ever national identity card system," which "would irreparably damage the fabric of American life."

The Sept. 11 attacks were the main motivation for the changes.

The hijacker-pilot who flew into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had a total of four driver's licenses and ID cards from three states. The DHS, which was created in response to the attacks, has created a slogan for REAL ID: "One driver, one license."

By 2014, anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building would have to present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, with the notable exception of those more than 50 years old, Homeland Security officials said.

The over-50 exemption was created to give states more time to get everyone new licenses, and officials say the risk of someone in that age group being a terrorist, illegal immigrant or con artist is much less. By 2017, even those over 50 must have a REAL ID-compliant card to board a plane.

Among other details of the REAL ID plan:

_The traditional driver's license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of the end so that should someone be rejected for failure to prove identity and citizenship, the applicant's photo would be kept on file and checked in the future if that person attempted to con the system again.

_The cards will have three layers of security measures but will not contain microchips as some had expected. States will be able to choose from a menu which security measures they will put in their cards.

Over the next year, the government expects all states to begin checking both the Social Security numbers and immigration status of license applicants.

Most states currently check Social Security numbers and about half check immigration status. Some, like New York, Virginia, North Carolina and California, already have implemented many of the security measures envisioned in REAL ID. In California, for example, officials expect the only major change to adopt the first phase would be to take the photograph at the beginning of the application process instead of the end.

After the Social Security and immigration status checks become nationwide practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks, including state DMV offices checking with the State Department to verify those applicants who use passports to get a driver's license, verifying birth certificates and checking with other states to ensure an applicant doesn't have more than one license.

A handful of states have already signed written agreements indicating plans to comply with REAL ID. Seventeen others, though, have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to it, often based on concerns about the billions of dollars such extra security is expected to cost.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:34 AM
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Default Hooray!

This is a sensible step in the right direction. What I find truly amazing is the opposition to the proposal, at the same time offering no alternatives or logical reasons for their opposition.

Let's see:
It could help prevent voter fraud. Who could possibly be against the sanctity of the electoral process?

It could expedite airline ticketing and boarding. Who could possibly against this action?

It could help identify illegal aliens. Who could possibly be opposed to discovering those who don't belong here?

It wouild help identify those truly qualified to operate a vehicle. Who could possibly be against that?
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:49 PM
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Default It's About Time!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe then: "America's Criminally Illegal Alien Invasion" will
finally be brought to a halt, and the more honest 30-40 million undocumented
foreign nationals (Heard same today's 10-12 million number about 25 years ago)
can be judiciously addressed through their respective embassies?

Neil
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Last edited by reconeil; 01-14-2008 at 03:50 PM. Reason: add words
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:08 PM
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Most all of us here were born before Dec 1964 so we aren't affected by the new Drivers License standards of showing proof of citizenship to renew or get a license. This also will affect Voter ID lawsuits in several states when the states being sued can point out the new US law on requirements for a state Drivers License.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:05 PM
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The New York Times

March 29, 2008
2 States in Jeopardy With Federal ID Law
By KATIE ZEZIMA

Starting in May, driver’s licenses issued in Maine and South Carolina may not be accepted as identification at airports and federal buildings unless the states work out a last-minute agreement with the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The states are refusing to ask the agency to extend the deadline for applying new layers of security in their identification systems as required under the federal Real ID Act. Congress passed the legislation in 2005 with the intention of making it harder for terrorists to obtain driver’s licenses.

The final Real ID regulations were released Jan. 11, and states have until Monday to request an extension of the compliance date. Without an extension, driver’s licenses from Maine and South Carolina will no longer be deemed valid as identification at airports and federal buildings starting May 11, the original date of compliance. As an alternative, travelers could use passports.

“If an individual shows up at an airport on May 11 or later and their licenses are from any state not in compliance, it’s effectively showing up without federal identification of any kind,” said Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “Individuals in those scenarios will have to have added security and screening.”

Maine and South Carolina are among a number of states that have passed laws barring participation in the Real ID program. The others have all won extensions, and Maine and South Carolina hope to be granted extensions as well, without formally requesting them.

Many states are concerned about cost, privacy and the federal government’s encroaching on a program traditionally left to the states.

This past week, extensions were granted to Montana and New Hampshire after their governors sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security detailing steps taken to tighten license security. The governors refused to ask for a waiver because, they said, state law prohibited any participation in the program. The agency granted each state a waiver anyway, saying the plans passed muster.

Gov. John E. Baldacci of Maine, a Democrat, sent a similar letter this week, and his office is in ongoing negotiations with the department. A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican, said he would likely send some type of correspondence Monday.

“There is no wiggle room in South Carolina law in terms of asking for an extension,” Joel Sawyer, the spokesman, said. “If Washington wants a more secure form of ID, then Washington ought to be able to pay for it.”

Don Cookson, a spokesman for Maine’s secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, who oversees the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said privacy was a major concern, as license information would be pooled into a federal database. Mr. Cookson said the state hoped for an extension.

“People are calling us, bothered at the notion that they will need a federally issued U.S. passport for domestic travel,” Mr. Cookson said.

How to handle states with laws prohibiting the carrying out of Real ID will be an issue for the next administration. The extension is good until Oct. 11, 2009, at which time states can apply for even more time. According to the law, all states must start issuing licenses that meet the law’s standards by Jan. 1, 2010.

Jeff Monroe, director of ports and transportation for the city of Portland, Me., said increased security requirements would heavily affect the relatively small Portland Jetport.

“We are wondering how in heaven’s name we are going to deal with having to put up a fair amount of secondary screening,” Mr. Monroe said.

Fliers at the Jetport who have Maine licenses would be plucked out of security lines to undergo additional screening, and all fliers would need to arrive at least two hours before boarding, he said.

“We absolutely recognize what the federal government wants to get accomplished,” he said. “What I hope does not happen is that the traveling public does not get inconvenienced in the middle of these conversations.”

Joel Elliott contributed reporting from Waterville, Me.
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