Articles have started appearing in the last few weeks referring to the Real ID Act. It is important, and it is likely to affect the vast majority of Americans in the coming year. Each person will be affected differently based on their general actions, but it is important to note how this will change the way you have done business in the past.
On December 28, 2015, some of the first articles made their way to print. They identified that in January of 2016, residents of multiple states would not be able to use their state driver’s license as a recognized identification to clear security in order to travel by air within the continental United States. In other words, those American citizens would require a passport to travel internally within the country by air.
Passed as a law by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act requires minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and restricted the Federal Government’s ability to accept those IDs that did not meet the minimum standard. This law was an initial element of the 9/11 Commission which sought ways to better secure the country after the September 11, 2001 attack.
For air travel, the phased process has been slow and deliberate, and taken over a decade to come to fruition. States were notified that they must increase the security standards on identifications to provide biometric data which will eventually be shareable in a national database.
Many states have pushed back in regards to the Real ID Act, going so far as to ban their legislative elements to set aside funding in order to meet the new standards. The reality is that states do not have to abide by the law, nor do they have to meet the new requirement, but it will be the people that lose if they do not.
Beginning in October of 2015, military installations, nuclear power plants, and federal facilities required Real ID Act compliant identification to enter the installation. In all, as of January 1, 2016, 21 states meet the required security standards. The remaining states are either in the process of applying for an extension, or they are already subject to enforcement.
The idea is a simple one, to make identifications harder to fake, require them to have biographical data stored on them though a bar code type component, and meet the same standard that 21 other states currently meet. In that light, the push back from states seems short-sighted. Arguments about the potential for data or identity theft seem naïve in this light as well.
The reality is that state funds are required to fill the requirement gap in those states that are currently non-compliant. In a time when fiscal budgets are tight, expenditures that are deemed unnecessary are therefore easy to fight against. In this case though, it will simply be the people that have to go and get new forms of identification.
As a final thought on this one though, the concept of having a passport to travel internally within a country is not a completely foreign one. Some countries issue internal and external passports. The external ones being for foreign travel, and the internal ones being the personal identification that is carried anyways. While going this route may seem ridiculous by people who have never needed more than a driver’s license to travel before, it should not be discounted simply because it is a change.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.