The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that it will again delay the deadline for states to tighten security requirements for driver's licenses. The current deadline for states to become materially compliant with REAL ID is January 15, 2013. But DHS has announced that it will grant deferment to states that are not REAL ID compliant for an unknown period of time.
Enacted in response to a 9/11 Commission recommendation, REAL ID will help prevent terrorists from obtaining valid driver's licenses and identification cards once it is fully implemented. Many states are making excellent progress toward REAL ID compliance because they know it is important.
House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in response to the Obama administration's announcement.
Chairman Lamar Smith: "A state-issued driver's license or identification card is a path to our roads, federal buildings, and airplanes. The 9/11 terrorists acquired over 30 driver's licenses. The terrorists then used these identification documents to blend into American society and board commercial flights on that September morning, killing over 3,000 innocent Americans.
"Over a decade has passed since 9/11 yet we continue to face the same vulnerabilities. Nearly eight years ago, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established national guidelines for the issuance of identification documents to prevent terrorists from obtaining drivers' licenses. But the Administration will again delay its implementation by issuing deferments to states that do not meet the January 15, 2013 deadline.
"The Administration should not prolong REAL ID implementation. By doing so, they disregard the law of the land. Delaying REAL ID unnecessarily places Americans' lives at risk and threatens national security. If there is a terrorist attack and the terrorist acquired a fraudulent driver's license as ID, the Obama administration will have to take full responsibility."