Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in the statement, “The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline. Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts.”
Wolf said he determined that states need a postponement of a year. The new REAL ID enforcement deadline is Oct. 1 of next year, and the agency will soon put a notice of a new deadline in the Federal Register.
“Protecting both the health and national security of the American people continues to be the top priority for the president of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security,” Wolf said in the statement.
The REAL ID launch serves as the last part of an act Congress ratified in 2005 following 9/11. It sought to increase security standards for drivers’ licenses made by the states. The law forbids federal bodies, with the inclusion of the Transportation Security Administration, from taking “for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards,” per DHS.
REAL ID requires individuals to verify themselves through Social Security cards and birth certificates. The IDs come with information like name, gender, address, date of birth, unique number, signature and a bar code that can be read by a machine. One of the main ideas behind the effort is to make it easier for verify someone’s identity using one de facto standard around the country.
The effort will also lead to 50 states connecting their ID databases, which will make it easier for authorities to discover moving violation histories for ID holders, among other efforts.