Head of Homeland Security Vows to Repeal REAL ID

by Teresa Anderson

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced that she is working with state governors to try and repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005. In answering a question about the act after a speech before the Anti-Defamation League, Napolitano said that "we've been, over the last weeks, meeting with governors of both parties to look at a way to repeal REAL ID and substitute something else that pivots off the driver's license but accomplishes some of the same goals." Napolitano said she hoped to "announce something on that fairly soon."

REAL ID is a controversial federal law that requires states to implement certain security features in state drivers' licenses. Some states have passed legislation making it illegal for the state government to comply with the federal law, which sets security criteria for issuing licenses in an effort to reduce the potential for terrorists to get fake IDs. While states aren't compelled to comply, the law says that people need a federal ID to board an airplane and that a license not compliant with REAL ID won't pass muster.

Technically, it's Congress, not the governors, who would have to pass legislation to repeal or revise the law, though DHS has some leeway with regard to what the regulations require states to do.



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