Homeland Security Extends Deadline After States Express Concern
Gov. Mark Sanford today commended Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's decision to extend the REAL ID deadline for states to May of 2011, meaning that South Carolinians will not be unduly hindered by the federal government from using their existing state driver's licenses to board airplanes and enter federal buildings.
"Today's news from Washington D.C. was welcome and indeed represented a wise decision by the Administration," Gov. Mark Sanford said. "We'd first thank Sec. Napolitano for considering the concerns about REAL ID's effectiveness and invasiveness as outlined in our letter to her two weeks ago. The fact is, South Carolina driver's licenses continue to be among the most secure in the nation - with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles having already met 90 percent of REAL ID's benchmarks and now working to enhance security further to guard against fraud and identity theft. I'd single out Director Marcia Adams and her team at our Department of Motor Vehicles for their continued efforts on this front.
"Given the federal government's deadline has now been extended, we feel there is a greater likelihood that our and many other states' concerns about REAL ID being too costly a mandate and an infringement on citizens' constitutional liberties will be fully addressed. We've said consistently that the federal government forcing REAL ID, or its progeny PASS ID, onto the states is neither fully safe nor financially sound - precisely why South Carolina and around a dozen other states have laws on the books prohibiting compliance with REAL ID. All that said, we're encouraged by today's decision, and look forward to continuing our defense of individual liberties, privacy rights, and the financial stability of our state. We'd also again urge our state's Congressional delegation to join that defense as REAL ID and the similarly-flawed PASS ID are discussed in the months to come."
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. In July of 2009, Gov. Sanford 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. Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the deadline for states to fully comply with REAL ID, set for December 31, 2009, would be effectively extended until May of 2011.