DHS threatening states to adopt Real ID—or else

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Despite the fact that several members of the House and Senate and the legislatures oppose implementation of the Real ID Act and at least 33 states have vowed to force noncompliance with the national ID-creating law, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going forward with its plans to mandate the controversial smart card and has warned states that they face consequences for failing to comply.

The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, mandates national standards for all state driver’s licenses and other official documents. The DHS hasn’t released a final version of the law, but the agency has said that it will require the documents to include a digital photograph and a bar code that can be scanned by electronic readers.

The initial compliance deadline is next year, with full compliance required by 2013.

DHS is modeling the president’s leadership style—which is to threaten America into going along with the Bush agenda no matter how lawless, unpopular, objectionable or absurd. "I think residents of states that choose not to comply are going to be displeased with their leadership’s decision when we get closer to full implementation," a DHS spokesman said. "They’ll no longer be able do certain things that carriers of state-issued drivers licenses take for granted today."

He noted that residents of states whose identification cards don’t comply with the law will be prohibited from entry to airports and federal buildings. It could also block access to "certain critical infrastructure sites" such as a power plants or dams, he said.

The final regulations will come from DHS sometime this fall, and individual states not now opposing Real ID will have to decide if they want to reject it or implement it.

The DHS spokesman declined to offer a specific date for when the final regulations would be issued.