Virginia licenses fail to comply with security rules

WASHINGTON — Virginia is among dozens of states failing to comply with federal rules that the federal government describes as critical to securing America by preventing terrorists from getting state IDs.

Under the REAL ID Act, those states’ IDs could be rejected for use at airports in 2016 without an acceptable second form of ID. The Department of Homeland Security still is working to set a date for when it will enforce the rule.

When REAL ID was passed by Congress in 2005, states were given three years to comply, but multiple deadline extensions and adjustments have been made since then.

Virginia has proposed “several alternative processes to meet the intent and spirit of REAL ID regulations which are currently being reviewed by DHS,” says Brandy Brubaker, of Virginia’s DMV, in a statement. The Commonwealth has been given an extension until Oct. 10, and that she’s confident they’ll get another one — last year, she says, they got the present extension in late September, “so we anticipate a response from DHS any day now.”

Brubaker says that “Virginia has one of the most secure credentials in the country,” and that to conform to the letter of the REAL ID Act would cause “great disruption to customers” and “great expense to taxpayers.”

Virginia’s concerns with the REAL ID requirements include the mandate that “each applicant’s Social Security number (SSN) not only be verified upon original application but also re-verified during each subsequent issuance, which includes duplicates, reissues and renewals,” Brubaker says.

“Since we have already verified every SSN in our active records with the Social Security Administration, we feel that performing this re-verification adds no value to the security of our credentials and is an unnecessary use of resources and taxpayer dollars. … Essentially, these customers would need to start from scratch as though they had never had a Virginia license before.”

The DMV also believes the requirement to electronically capture the images of every proof document would be costly to the department, and therefore taxpayers.

The regulations also require each drier to present their Social Security card for each driver’s license transaction, Brubaker says; “However, technology has advanced since the Act was passed in 2005 and agencies are now able to electronically verify Social Security numbers. This electronic process is just as secure, but also makes the transaction simpler for customers as it allows them to provide their Social Security number in a variety of methods, such as a pay stub.”

A senior fellow at the Cato Institute says in a blog post that Americans have nothing to worry about if their states aren’t in compliance.

Jim Harper predicts no one will be denied passage through airport security for not carrying a nationally endorsed ID.

“The lawsuits that follow such an action will make their heads spin. And it will all be focused at the federal government: the TSA, the DHS, and the U.S. Congress with its flaccid oversight of the security bureaucracy,” Harper writes.

State identification issued by Maryland and the District of Columbia comply with REAL ID standards.

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