No state will comply with the REAL ID Act’s requirement to begin issuing a national ID by the forthcoming statutory deadline, May 11th.
Because of that, the Department of Homeland Security is giving states deadline extensions just for the asking. Interestingly, it’s turning around and spinning the acceptance of those extensions as commitments to comply. Many of the states shown in green on this map have passed statutes outright refusing to implement the law. (For readers new to Planet Earth, the color green typically means “go.” Green is a strange choice of color for states that have legally barred themselves from issuing the DHS’s national ID.)
With her state — the first in the nation to pass anti–REAL ID legislation — considering refusing even the deadline extension, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is once again working with DHS in support of the national ID law.
She has written a letter to the governor of her state, asking him to go ahead and take the waiver, playing into the DHS strategy. Followers of REAL ID know that delaying implementation helps a national ID go forward by giving the companies and organizations that sustain themselves on these kinds of projects time to shake the federal money tree and get this $11 billion surveillance mandate funded.
The cumulative profit margin of the airline industry is less than 1%. Should even a single state refuse to accept this national ID mandate, the airline industry, airport operators (faced with reconfiguring their operations), and travelers groups would be on the Hill in an instant. The Congress would have to revisit the issue.
Evidently, Senator Collins doesn’t want to risk the chance of an up-or-down vote on whether the United States should have a national ID. Her work behind the scenes in favor of REAL ID reveals where she stands.