State: REAL ID pinch won’t be felt for a few more months

Illinoisans won’t experience extra scrutiny from not having a national REAL ID card for a few months, even as the deadline for compliance approaches this weekend, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

The state was notified last month that January 10th was the deadline to comply with the national standards but Dave Druker, press secretary with the secretary of state, says Illinoisans wanting to board a plane or enter a federal building won’t notice any extra screening measures for four months after this weekend’s deadline.

“But I do want to assure your listeners that they will be able to get on an airplane with an Illinois driver’s license but there may be an extra measure of security that they will have to go through, perhaps another line or maybe being questioned at the airport.”

What those extra screening measures might be is still unclear. Druker says the state is in continued talks with the federal government to get another extension, but it’s uncertain if that will be successful. In the meantime, Druker recommends Illinoisans get a passport, which is REAL ID compliant, as a workaround.

The secretary of state’s office is expected to send a memo to lawmakers in a few days about the status and what legislation and appropriation would be needed to comply with the federal law.

ALCU: Cost of REAL ID isn’t only concern, data security also top of list

Meanwhile, there’s no such thing as a secure database. That’s one of the many problems the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has with the state of Illinois having to comply with the federal REAL ID Act.

Ed Yohnka with the ACLU of Illinois says Illinois and other large states like California and New York are being quote “bullied” into compliance by the federal government to get what the ACLU amounts to a national ID card.

Despite the federal government being wary of calling the national mandate a national ID, Yohnka says REAL ID is a national ID because it links all states’ ID databases together, something Yohnka says is not secure.

“The idea that somehow we will be more secure and our data will be protected when this goes national doesn’t really pass the test of what we see each and every day in the media and each and every day in the public in terms of our own data.”

One example Yohnka provided is someone possibly leaving a laptop with access to the database at a coffee shop. And, he pointed out, a nationally linked system will only be as strong as the weakest state’s security.

ACLU: REAL ID will impact low income earners most

Find yourself living paycheck-to-paycheck? If REAL ID is implemented it may mean trading in a week’s worth of lunch to get the ID that complies with federal standards. Yohnka says getting a REAL ID will be labor intensive and not something applicants could pick up almost instantly, as is done now with the state’s current ID.

“You would have to make several trips to validate who you were. You’d have to produce several source documents, including an original birth certificate.”

Yohnka says at the end of the process of providing all the documents the applicant would then go home and wait for the ID card to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile Yohnka says for people who are struggling financially REAL ID will be even more burdensome.

“Do you have to chose between renewing your driver’s license and eating lunch for a week? These are real questions for people who live at the margins and unfortunately from all the data we see there are far too many folks who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.”

Yohnka estimates if REAL ID is implemented in Illinois, as the federal government is pushing the state towards, it could put the price of a driver’s license to more than $100, whereas it now costs $30.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office couldn’t say how much it will cost individuals but estimates overall implementation of the ID will cost taxpayers $60 million dollars, and there’s little indication of what the yearly costs thereafter would be.

SoS: Philosophical arguments are concern in complying with REAL ID

Druker says there are some philosophical arguments raised by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union that must be addressed, including data security and the impact of any possible increased cost on lower income Illinoisans.

“That’s an interesting point. I think they point out something here that the public needs to think about, to look at and take into consideration.”

Druker says the state was 84 percent compliant with the federal regulations but was still notified by the federal Department of Homeland Security last month that they would not be in compliance as soon as January 10. The secretary of state’s office says to get in compliance, Illinois lawmakers must authorize REAL ID implementation in Illinois and appropriate money for it.

Illinois News Network

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