U.S. Travel Association issued the following statement calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to delay the implementation of the REAL ID Act, which is set to take full effect one year from today on May 3, 2023:
“U.S. Travel supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s push to educate individuals on the need to acquire a REAL ID, but we also recognize that the pandemic created a significant hurdle to the widespread adoption of REAL ID. As we look ahead to next year’s deadline, it is clear that Americans will not be ready for full implementation.
“We are calling on DHS to delay implementation or develop an alternative screening process for travelers with a legacy ID to ensure that air travelers and the industry’s recovery are not impeded. The delay should last until measures are in place to prevent a scenario in which travelers are turned away at airport security checkpoints.”
The Real ID Act of 2005, enacted May 11, 2005, is an Act of Congress that modifies U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedure standards for drivers’ licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.
The law sets forth requirements for state drivers’ licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security has defined “official purposes” as boarding commercially operated airline flights, and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants, although the law gives the Secretary unlimited authority to require a “federal identification” for any other purposes.
The Real ID Act implements the following:
- Title II of the act establishes new federal standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and non-driver identification cards.
- Changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens.
- Funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security.
- Introducing rules covering “delivery bonds” (similar to bail, but for aliens who have been released pending hearings).
- Updating and tightening laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorism.
- Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders.