Congress Steps In to Resolve Real ID Mess at Security Checkpoints

By Jesse Sokolow on 12 February 2020
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Security checkpoint at JFK Airport

Two congressmen introduced legislation that would partially stave off disruption at airport security checkpoints come October 1.

The bipartisan Trusted Traveler Real ID Relief Act of 2020, introduced by Representatives Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) would allow membership in PreCheck to be a temporary alternative to having a Real ID-compliant license at the nation’s security checkpoints.

The bill, if it becomes law, would also allow state motor vehicle agencies to establish procedures that would allow people to use electronic documents and facial images when applying for a Real ID-compliant license. It would require the Transportation Security Administration to accept enrollment in PreCheck as an alternative to a Real ID-compliant driver’s license until April 1, 2022.

Real ID establishes minimum standards and security enhancements for state-issued driver’s licenses.

Driver’s licenses that are Real ID compliant sport a five-point star in the top right corner. Getting one requires a trip to the local department of motor vehicles or other agency that issues licenses in your state with documentation that includes proof of identity such as a current license, birth certificate, or passport; proof of date of birth; proof of U.S. citizenship; and two proofs of residence such as utility bills or bank statements.

The rationale for Real ID came from the fact that some of the terrorists who hijacked the four planes on September 11 used fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses to traverse airport security checkpoints, but the plan raised concerns for privacy as well as the cost of implementation.  As a result, the deadline for enforcement was pushed back repeatedly from 2008 to 2009 to 2011 to 2013 and finally to October 2020.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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