Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

American air travelers can wait a while longer before having to present a REAL ID embossed drivers’ license to board domestic flights, according to a statement released Tuesday by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The REAL ID deadline had been in October 1, but is now postponed – again – this time for 19 months more to May 3, 2023.

Mayorkas said in a press release that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. A lot of state office of motor vehicles have been operating with shortened hours and limited capacities.

The federal Transportation Security Administration tweeted Wednesday afternoon a reminder that travelers on Oct. 1, 2021 are going to need REA…

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” Mayorkas said. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.”

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.

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REAL ID was initially passed in 2005 by a Republican-majority Congress. In the aftermath of 9/11, during which terrorists hijacked commercial airlines and drove passenger planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Congress decided that traveling incognito wasn’t constitutionally protected and security required that knowing the guy in the middle seat is who he says he is.

But the law required state participation, which Louisiana along with fewer than a dozen other states refused to do, including Louisiana initially. After several years, however, laws were passed to allow Louisiana drivers to choose whether they want the gold star of REAL ID drivers’ license.

The National Governors Association backed the move on Tuesday noting that states have invested significant time and resources to raise public awareness as well as provide services for REAL ID adoption. “However, the prolonged effects on state and local resources and programs, supply chain disruptions, and extended closure of state and local government offices during COVID-19, have made an extension in the deadline advisable if all Americans are to have an opportunity to acquire a REAL ID,” the National Governor’s Association said in a press release.

With so much going on each day, there are a number of important matters not getting as much attention. That’s understandable.

Political Horizons: “Without a Star – You won’t go far”

The federal Transportation Security Administration last week tweeted out a reminder that airline travelers are going to need REAL ID-compliant…