Sunday, February 9, 2014

Some States are not ready for the "REAL ID" Verification Program

For now, Massachusetts faces no punishment from the federal government for issuing driver’s licenses to its residents without verifying their citizenship. That is about to change. 
Starting in April, Massachusetts residents will be prevented from using their licenses to gain access to some federal buildings — unless, of course, state officials give in and quickly adopt the Homeland Security “Real ID” verification program.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley discussed that state’s
effort to comply with the Real ID program
If not, residents will be later barred from sensitive locations such as nuclear power plants without showing additional documentation such as a US passport. That will even be the case for visitors seeking a tour of the White House. 
Then, as soon as 2016, the punishment will get more serious: Massachusetts residents will be prevented from boarding commercial aircraft if they do not provide another identity document to security screeners.
It is all part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security to prod Massachusetts and 11 other states to follow the requirements of the 2005 law that stiffened requirements on driver’s licenses. Under the law, states must require proof that driver’s license applicants are US citizens or, if they are foreign, that they are legally in the United States. The goal is to prevent terrorists with illegal immigration status from boarding airliners.
Officials in Massachusetts, Maine, and other states have resisted the rules. They call them expensive to adopt, burdensome, and an encroachment of state’s rights. Privacy hawks also argue that increased collection of data could be a ripe target for hackers. 
As a result of the controversy, Homeland Security has delayed enforcement four times.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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