Real ID Decisions

Do presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support having a U.S. national ID card? By quirk of fate, that question may be one of the first issues to land on the new president’s desk after inauguration day, when U.S. Department of Homeland Security efforts to implement a national ID kick into high gear.


DHS announced recently that it will refuse Americans’ access to federal facilities beginning on Jan. 30, 2017, if they carry drivers’ licenses or IDs from states that don’t comply with the Real ID Act. This hardball tactic will be carried out in the new president’s name.


Congress passed Real ID in 2005. It seeks to coerce states into issuing ID cards and licenses with nationally standardized data elements. It also requires states to share their databases of driver information across a national data network. This national ID system would be run by the states for the federal government. The law calls on federal agencies led by DHS to refuse IDs and drivers’ licenses from non-compliant states.


Many states have resisted these federal dictates, so starting in January military families from those states will be turned away from their sons’ and daughters’ boot camp graduations if they can’t find suitable alternative identification. Other elements of DHS’s enforcement plan include turning travelers from non-compliant states away at airports starting in 2018. By 2020, DHS expects every domestic air traveler to present a Real ID-compliant license or some other federal or federally-approved identification. This will make the next president the national-ID president.


Read More: Real ID Decisions | Cato Institute

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