- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Citing the coronavirus pandemic, Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it is granting yet another delay in compliance with the Real ID Act’s deadline for having secure identification to board an airplane, setting a new target of 2023.

The original deadline set by Congress was 2008, but it has been extended repeatedly as administration after administration has been prodded by slow-moving states and members of Congress for reprieves.

The Trump administration had insisted it would not grant any new delays, but the pandemic hit, forcing an extension to Oct. 1, 2021. The Biden administration has now kicked that date back to May 3, 2023.

“As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Less than half of Americans have Real ID-compliant identification. States had been making a push to get folks to sign up in early 2020, but the pandemic shuttered many state offices and curtailed services, spurring last year’s delay.

The Real ID requirements grew out of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, which found some of the terrorists who orchestrated the 2001 attack used state-issued identification to board the planes, even though their legal status in the U.S. had already ended.

The commission recommended issuing identification that is only valid for the length of someone’s legal status. For citizens, that is indefinite. But for temporary visitors, it is limited. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t be able to obtain Real ID-compliant identification at all

Under the law, identification used for federal purposes such as boarding a commercial aircraft or entering a federal building must be compliant.

A number of states now have multiple identifications, with illegal immigrants able to obtain cards that are not Real ID-compliant but are still good for state purposes.

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