Full ID Compliance Is Vital to National Security

Press Releases

June 18, 2019

IRLI submits comment to DHS on recertification process

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) submitted a public comment to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), calling for heightened audit and anti-fraud measures when re-certifying REAL ID Act compliance by states that issue noncompliant drivers licenses and identity cards to illegal aliens, often as part of broader sanctuary or resistance policies. In 2005, Congress enacted the REAL ID Act pursuant to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to better secure identification nationwide. Among the 9/11 hijackers, it was discovered that 18 of them possessed a total of 30 driver’s licenses and state IDs. They used six of those IDs to board planes the morning of the attacks.

The Secretary had requested input from concerned citizens and organizations as to the continued use of recertification standards first issued in 2005. Persons with licenses from states that failed to meet DHS standards would no longer be able to enter most federal facilities or board commercial airline flights using those non-secure documents.

However, from 2005 until 2017, prior administrations routinely granted recalcitrant states extensions. The Trump Administration rejected this approach, so that by October 2020, all states and territories must finally comply. “Full nationwide REAL ID compliance by all license-issuing states will truly be a milestone for American national security,” commented IRLI Executive Director Dale L. Wilcox.”

The REAL ID Act also requires that states be re-certified on a rolling three-year basis. IRLI is urging DHS to focus recertification, including more careful audits, on the states that have chosen to issue non-compliant licenses and IDs. These documents are primarily provided to unlawfully present aliens, who are living, working, and some cases engaging in criminal and subversive acts while present in this country in violation of law.

“Millions of citizens and lawfully present immigrants have had to devote extra time to update their licenses and show proof of lawful citizenship or immigration status,” added Wilcox. “Any laxity in the recertification process would undermine our nation’s massive effort to improve national security. It will be logical and most effective for DHS to focus its limited investigation and audit capabilities for recertification on the minority of scofflaw states that oppose the goal of Congress to better protect our nation following the 9/11 attacks.”

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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