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Tuesday
Mar042008

Feds Warn States of ID Deadline

Homeland Security officials are pushing recalcitrant states to adopt stricter driver's license standards to end a standoff that could disrupt domestic air travel.

States have less than a month to send a letter to the Homeland Security Department seeking an extension to comply with the Real ID law passed following the 2001 terror attacks. Some states have resisted, saying it is costly, impractical and an invasion of privacy.

Four states — Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina — have yet to seek an extension.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues that the law fixes a critical gap in security identified by the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks: the ease of obtaining government-issued ID. It will also hinder would-be con artists and illegal immigrants, he said.

Real ID-compliant driver's licenses would have several layers of new security features to prevent forgery. They would also be issued after a number of ID checks, including verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status. Officials acknowledge it will take years to phase in all the different security measures.

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