After the State of Maryland announced that it will begin issuing new high-tech driver's licenses, our Director of Policy wrote in the Baltimore Sun that despite the upgrades, the new design might prevent Maryland residents from boarding airplanes. The licenses will incorporate state of the art anti-counterfeiting features but are missing a key distinction that will make the state fall out of compliance with the REAL ID Act. Click here for the story
An article in Chicago's leading paper purported a surprising "good news" story on a Friday evening in that the state will not face enforcement of the REAL ID Act at airports unless it is still out of compliance in 2018, giving it two additional years to meet the requirements. The states have already had ten years and the majority have already met all the requirements or are on track to meet them. Illinois is not one of them. We believe the states have had ample time meet the requirements or at least get on the trajectory to doing so and another delay in enfrocement is damaging to DHS's credibility and leaves our airplanes less safe. Our policy director, Andrew Meehan, was quoted in the article, saying that at least "The silver lining of all the recent discussion about Real ID is that editorial boards and state legislatures are finally taking a closer look." Click here for the story
Governor Andrew Cuomo has sent out the results of a statewide effort to crackdown on underage drinking and fake IDs. This crackdown took place at, where else? Summer concerts in New York. The end result is 133 arrests made with 63 false identity documents confiscated. Click here for the story.
In a post led in with, "new clarity on REAL ID", Politico says that the states may be breathing a sigh of relief now that they have two more years to meet the Act's requirements after hustling to comply or facing enforcement at airports. Our Policy Director, Andrew Meehan, is quoted in the article as someone who's "not happy". He explains that the additional delay damages DHS's credibility by pushing the states to act and then delaying yet again. Click here for the story.
Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation that will allow New Mexico to comply with the REAL ID Act. New Mexico plans to issue compliant licenses by the fall of the this year. The 2005 REAL ID Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting driver's licenses that do not meet standards set by the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2003, New Mexico has issued driver's licenses without requiring proof of lawful status, a key component of the REAL ID standards. The New Mexico legislature passed legislation that allows the state to comply with the REAL ID Act, and allows the state to issue driving authorization cards for applicants who cannot or choose not to provide proof of lawful status. Consistent with the requirements of the REAL ID Act, New Mexico driving authorization cards will have a different appearance than a standard REAL ID license and state on the face of the license, "not for official purposes." Click here for the story
There have been many strategic rifts between al-Qaeda and ISIS, but they haven’t split on one operational maxim: get fake IDs to avoid detection. The 9/11 Commission concluded in its final 2004 report that “for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.” That’s because the 9/11 hijackers used over 30 different fraudulent IDs between 18 terrorists to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, hide from law enforcement, enroll in flight schools, and board the aircraft that took 3,000 lives. Click here for the article.
Andrew Meehan tells the Buffalo News that moving the state back on REAL ID compliance would undo a decade's worth of work, waste millions of taxpayer dollars and may increase the risk of identity theft and fraud. Because of $2 million in REAL ID funding, the New York DMV was able to test new technologies designed to detect individuals who have multiple licenses with different identities. That pilot grew into a program that has resulted in the arrest of 3,600 individuals. These crimes are often connected with a catalog of other offenses ranging from driving with a suspended or revoked license to benefits fraud. Click here for the story
Andrew Meehan argues in the Salt Lake Tribune that a cut in funding to REAL ID would undo the progress Utah and rest of the states have made, waste $300 million taxpayer dollars and ultimately result in a loss of robust privacy protections that have resulted from REAL ID's implementation.. Click here for the story
Director of Research Max Bluestein published an April 14, 2015 op ed in USA Today about the risks of fake IDs to our national security. The column, titled "Fake IDs a bigger issue than underage drinking", highlighted the risks of high quality counterfeit U.S. driver's licenses flooding in from China. Click here to see the story.
The Editorial Board of the Oklahoman wrote a strong piece urging state lawmakers to comply with the REAL ID Act so that their constituents wouldn't need passports to enter military bases starting in October, "the first of many inconveniences should legislators continue to ignore federal law". The editorial cites Keeping IDentities Safe's Andrew Meehan on other reasons Oklahoma needs to get on board with most states in adopting the best practices set back in 2008. Click here for the story.
14 years after 9/11 hijackers had no trouble getting driver's licenses, time to crack down.
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Regarding the progress the country has made in securing our nation against another terrorist attack since the 9/11 attacks, Breitbart News quoted Keeping IDentities Safe President Brian Zimmer on securing our driver's licenses. Zimmer said that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, “has moved the Real ID Act enforcement forward in states and within the government in a forthright manner. It is a welcome change from the indifference and lassitude of his predecessor. Real ID compliance today has largely been a matter of voluntary compliance by states who understood the importance of secure IDs for public safety and national security." Click here for the story.