Over 25 States in Legal Opposition of Real ID Act
AUSTIN – Texas legislators previously concerned about compliance deadlines may heave a sigh of relief as Department of Homeland Security announced it’s move to repeal the federal Real ID Act last week. Other legislators like, Rep. Carl Isett (TX-Lubbock), continue to join the national trend of states moving legislation to reject the federal mandate. Lack of federal funding, serious privacy and civil liberties concerns over Real ID’s regulations provoked 25 states to move legislation against the national ID program.
Representative Isett sponsors the Texas legislation opposing the comprehensive national ID program. Isett sponsored identical legislation last session.
Real ID, passed as a rider on a Tsunami relief bill in 2005, suffered from a big brother reputation, technical networking inadequacies and state’s sticker shock over the price to build a centralized federal identity database from state fusion centers.
According to a report released last month from the DHS Inspector General, fusion centers across the U.S. are inadequately networked, non-existent or vastly underfunded to comply with the federal mandate for identity storage and national identity sharing.
“DHS did not provide timely and specific guidance on how REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards must be marked, best practices for the physical security of facilities, or information on the systems that will be used for verifying applicant documentation. To achieve full compliance with REAL ID standards by 2011, states must connect with electronic verification systems to verify identification documents. Several of the systems needed do not yet exist. Specifically, 18 of 19 states, or 95%, reported that available grant funding was insufficient. Several states referred to the amount received as a “drop in the bucket.” – DHS Inspector Generals Report
During Texas 81st session legislators field concerns about Texans being refused passage into federal buildings and airports based on the program’s federal extension status. According to staffers, DHS has been unclear about the extension standards until now. Texas’ federal Real ID extension for compliance will expire December 31, 2009.