Monday, May 19, 2008

The Real ID Act - what is this?

Here is something you should probably know if you are a U.S. citizen, or trying to become a U.S. citizen: "On and after May 11, 2008, state driver's licenses and identification cards will not be accepted for federal purposes unless the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that a state is compliant with the Real ID or a state has been approved for an extension by the Secretary of DHS. All 56 U.S. jurisdictions have received an initial extension from the Secretary of the DHS. The initial extension is valid until Dec. 31, 2009.

DHS estimates the costs for states to implement the Real ID will not exceed $3.9 billion.

To date, Congress has appropriated only $90 million to assist states with implementation of the Real ID, of which only $6 million has been obligated. The President's FY 2009 budget proposal included $50 million for federal verification system development and connectivity support. The $50 million state-focused Real ID grant program created in FY2008 is zeroed out in favor of a new $110 million National Security and Terrorism Prevention Grant program." (http://www.ncsl.org/realid/)

While this is a significant modification of our rights, many have never heard of the Real ID Act - not because of ignorance but rather the information has not adequately been disseminated to the public.

I have created this blog as an open forum for questions and answers regarding the Real ID Act; ongoing research is necessary in order to understand exactly what the inevitable proposal entails for all of us.

Here are some relevant websites to visit:

http://www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/laws/gc_1172767635686.shtm (DHS report)

http://www.realnightmare.org/ (ACLU information)

http://www.ncsl.org/realid/ (NCLU forum)

Please check in for updates and leave comments, no matter how much or little you know about the REAL ID.