Illinois would benefit from REAL ID

Illinois would benefit from REAL ID

The Illinois Legislature should move quickly and consider state Sen. Iris Martinez's REAL ID compliance bill ("Dan Corkery: Increased security measures coming to an airport near you," March 1, The News-Gazette).

The REAL ID standards add new protections for Illinois driver's license cardholders against identity theft and fraud. Additionally, it will prevent ID cardholders from being submitted to a de facto tax in having to obtain a passport.

The REAL ID standards were designed to make it more difficult for a criminal to fraudulently obtain a driver's license under an assumed or fictitious identity, by taking a holistic approach to driver's license security.

In a REAL ID compliant state, documents submitted as proof of identity are required to be authenticated and verified with the issuing agency. Motor vehicle employees who have access to sensitive personal data are required to undergo background checks.

The Legislature is running out of time. Currently, Illinois has been granted an extension by the Department of Homeland Security, but the Illinois secretary of state's office needs to start implementing the standards now. If Illinois cannot demonstrate progress, Homeland Security may not renew the extension, as DHS did with New Hampshire and Idaho.

The REAL ID standards offer robust protections for Illinois driver's license cardholders, and the Legislature needs to act now and provide the secretary of state the necessary authority to implement the standards.

If not, Illinois residents will need to wait on line at the passport office instead of the DMV.


Policy director

Coalition for a Secure Driver's License