[JURIST] The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] Friday issued a final rule [text; DHS backgrounder] establishing new minimum standards [press release] for state-issued identification cards under the Real ID Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive]. DHS will phase in the heightened requirements between 2011 and 2017. Opponents of the Real ID Act have expressed privacy and civil liberties concerns, objecting to the sharing of personal data between government agencies, particularly between state and federal government agencies. Many states have also opposed the law, saying that its implementation costs will be too burdensome. Some states have signed written agreements saying they will comply with the requirements of the Real ID Act, but 17 states have passed legislation or resolutions specifically objecting to the requirements. AP has more.
Initially drafted after the Sept. 11 attacks and designed to discourage illegal immigration, the law attempts to make it more difficult to fraudulently obtain US driver's licenses and other government IDs by mandating that states require birth certificates or similar documentation and also consult national immigration databases before issuing IDs. After controversy and strenuous opposition from civil libertarians [FindLaw commentary], it finally passed in 2005 [JURIST report] as part of an emergency supplemental appropriations defense spending bill.