REAL ID Rant

My state’s senators (that’s Montana, by the way) rather reasonably think that the REAL ID Act is a load of crap that won’t do a heck of a lot to protect Americans from anything but will limit the amount of personal freedom people have from government oversight.

So this week, along with senators from several other states, Montana’s senators sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, asking the agency to drop the May 11 deadline for states to comply with the act.

“It is our position that this deadline is both arbitrary and ineffective and imposes unnecessary burdens on all parties without enhancing our national security … Furthermore, the department has not taken the steps necessary to implement this deadline effectively. We therefore respectfully request you exempt all 50 States from the May 11, 2008, deadline.”

DHS essentially told them “tough cookies, do as the law says.”

What irks me is this: if Montana doesn’t comply with REAL ID, then my state driver’s license won’t be good enough to take me anywhere outside of Montana; it won’t be considered adequate identification according to federal rules.

If the agency does not lift the deadline, the senators said Chertoff needs to tell them why state residents could face secondary screening and what that additional screenings would entail, if anyone would be prevented from boarding airplanes, and other questions.

The agency said Montanans could travel with a passport to avoid scrutiny.

Great, my federal government recommends that if I want to travel anywhere by air, within my own country, I should pay more than $100 and wait many, many months for a passport (which is supposed to be for international travel). Grr.

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