Even COVID-19 Couldn’t Kill REAL ID
It has been more than 15 years since Congress passed the REAL ID Act. Presented as a national security safeguard, the law requires that American citizens and legal residents have a specific type of identification, incorporating proof of not just their identity but their citizenship, to enter federal buildings or board domestic flights.
Implementation of REAL ID has been a real mess. The National Conference of State Legislatures initially estimated that 245 million government-issued IDs would need to be replaced at a cost of $11 billion. To get these new IDs, applicants have to provide additional proof that they are citizens or lawful U.S. residents.
Unsurprisingly, many states and citizens have resisted these requirements. While compliance was always intended to be phased in, the slow pace of implementation has prompted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to repeatedly delay REAL ID enforcement. The first deadline, imposed with 120 days’ n
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