January 18, 2008 | By Richard Esguerra

DHS Issues REAL ID Standards; Congressional Leaders Respond

On January 11, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final regulations (PDFs 1, 2) for the implementation of the REAL ID Act, the flawed plan to create a national identity card system.

The REAL ID Act was signed into law in 2005 and forces states to standardize driver's licenses in a way that turns them into a national ID. The Real ID Act will create grave dangers to privacy and impose massive financial burdens without improving national security in the least.

Initial analysis of the rule seems to show few substantive differences from the previous proposed rule, and that the DHS plan only serves to lengthen the timeline of implementation.

Several congressional leaders have already come out against the Real ID regulations, arguing that the provisions pass the cost on to taxpayers, do not improve national security, and do not protect the privacy of Americans. From a statement issued by Senator Leahy (D-VT):

The Bush administration's Real ID program will not only lead to long lines at every DMV across the country, it will impose a massive unfunded mandate on state governments while offering absolutely no federal privacy protections to our citizens.

You can view more statements from senators Tom Allen (D-ME), Max Baucus and Jon Tester (D-MT), Daniel Akaka (D-VT) and John Sununu (R-NH), and the House Homeland Security Committee. Stay tuned for additional updates and actions you can take to prevent REAL ID from affecting your privacy and pocketbook.

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