Delaware May Be Eating The Chip, biometrics

Posted: October 17, 2009 in Delaware, DMV, drivers license, immigration, Real ID Act

DOVER — Those getting a Delaware driver’s license will soon face increased security measures.

That could make life difficult for some – particularly immigrants who are not in this country legally and don’t have the necessary documents.

The law [The Real ID Act] was condemned by many states as a costly unfunded mandate – it would cost them an estimated $4 billion to implement it – and 24 states have refused to comply or passed laws limiting their participation.

Delaware, which didn’t resist the federal Real ID mandate, is expected to be ready to meet the requirements of Real ID.

“We’re on track to meet all the [Real ID] benchmarks by January 2010,” said Jennifer Cohan, director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. Delaware will debut a new driver’s license next year, one that will resemble the current license but that will contain additional security measures.

Delaware also will issue noncompliant licenses for people lacking the documentation needed for federally compliant licenses, Cohan said.

Those licenses still confer driving privileges but will not be sufficient identification to board an airplane or enter a federal building.

Real ID also drew fire from a wide range of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, which blasted it as a de facto national ID card and its provision for a central database of driver information as an invasion of privacy.

Now an effort is afoot on Capitol Hill to bypass the states’ rebellion and retool Real ID. The new bill, Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification – PASS ID – is somewhat less rigorous than Real ID and also contains federal funding to help states implement it.

PASS ID, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., eliminates a Real ID proposal for a central database that would allow states to cross-check the validity of documents.Cohan called PASS ID “Real ID Lite” – it accomplishes many of the same goals without excessive burdens on the states.

Applicants still will have to supply a birth certificate and Social Security card to obtain a federally compliant license. States also will check applicants’ legal status – including their immigration status.


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