WASHINGTON–In the long-running Real ID staring match, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ended up being the first to blink.
Homeland Security announced Wednesday that all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be technically Real ID-compliant by the May 11, 2008 deadline–even though many states actually have rejected the concept and have zero plans to embrace a national ID card.
This means Americans will face no new hassles when using their drivers licenses to enter federal buildings or fly on airplanes starting on May 11. That’s a good thing.
But the way this turned out is so odd it’s worth repeating. States including New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Montana have enacted laws saying “hell no we’ll never comply with Real ID.” And Homeland Security officials carefully ignored those public votes of condemnation, instead pretending that those states really intend to acquiesce by the next major deadline of December 31, 2009. (See our special report on Real ID from earlier this year.)