Gov. Sanford Updates Sec. Napolitano on REAL ID
Continued Concerns With REAL ID And PASS ID Outlined
In a letter sent earlier this week, Gov. Mark Sanford both updated Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on South Carolina's progress in making the state's driver's licenses more secure, and reiterated the administration's strong concerns that the federal REAL ID law represents both an infringement on constitutional liberties and an unacceptable cost burden to the states.
"South Carolina continues to make strides toward protecting the personal information contained in our driver's licenses, including technological advances that enhance security and guard against fraud and ID theft," said Gov. Mark Sanford. "Given that our state's driver's licenses continue to be among the most secure in the nation, we remain skeptical of claims that REAL ID or PASS ID is the safest and wisest route for our state and country. While attempts to contain some of the costs associated with REAL ID in the recently amended legislation are commendable, this federal mandate still infringes on liberty and privacy rights, and in this case, discretion and caution indeed seem the better part of valor. So for that reason, and for the fact that our state law currently prevents South Carolina from complying with REAL ID, we will continue to stand out from under this unfunded federal mandate."
In March of 2008, Gov. Sanford refused to apply for an extension of the federally imposed deadline on compliance with REAL ID - in effect forcing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue an assurance that South Carolinians would not be penalized during travel or when visiting federal buildings. Gov. Sanford argued that the South Carolina DMV had already met 90 percent of REAL ID's benchmarks; that the legislation had never been properly debated in Congress; that the law represented a $9 billion unfunded mandate; and - most importantly - that REAL ID presented serious threats to individual liberty.
In July of this year, Gov. Sanford again raised concerns about PASS ID, the legislatively-revised REAL ID, and specifically questioned whether secondary levels of screening would be mandated, and whether the new bill's voluntary pilot program establishing a centralized hub of citizens' identities would in time become mandatory. To date, these concerns have not been addressed.