Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements and the Department of Driver Services
Suggested State Legislation: This Act permits the governor to delay implementing the requirements of the Real ID Act until the federal Department of Homeland Security has issued regulations that the governor finds will adequately protect the interests of the citizens of the state.
The Act directs the state department of driver services to take the necessary steps to become a participant in the SAVE Program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements), which is administered by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, to help ensure that secure and verifiable identification is required in this state in order to obtain a driver’s license.
Status: Enacted into law in 2007.
Suggested State Legislation: 2009 Docket
(Title, enacting clause, etc.)
Section 1. [Short Title.] This Act shall be cited as “An Act Regarding Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements and the Department of Driver Services.”
Section 2. [Legislative Findings.]
(A) The [Legislature] finds that the Real ID Act, H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13, enacted by Congress in 2005, established standards that state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards must meet by May 11, 2008, if the licenses or identification cards are to be accepted as valid identification by the federal government. After May 11, 2008, federal agencies are scheduled to accept only drivers’ licenses or identification cards that meet Real ID standards. Noncompliant cards will not be accepted for federal purposes such as boarding a domestic flight, opening a bank account, or any other service or activity over which the federal government claims jurisdiction. Each state will also be required to share data from their drivers’ licenses or identification cards data base with other states.
(B) While everyone recognizes the need to make identifying documents as secure as is humanly possible, the one-size-fits-all approach required by the Real ID Act may actually increase the documents’ vulnerability to counterfeiting. If criminals are able to invade one state’s system, they may have access to all states’ systems. On another front, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators suggests that the new requirements of the Real ID Act will cost states at least $11 billion over the first five years of the program. Despite this massive price tag, there has been no money appropriated to help states meet the Law’s demands.
(C) The Real ID Act gives the Department of Homeland Security the power to set federal standards and determine whether state drivers’ licenses and other identification cards meet these standards. There is no provision in the Real ID Act that requires or even mentions information privacy or data security. The federal and state governments must ensure that the data needed to verify the identity of driver’s license applicants is maintained securely and not used for other unrelated purposes.
(D) The Department of Homeland Security must include privacy protections for personal driver data as they promulgate regulations spelling out what states need to do to implement the federal law. Success of the Real ID Act depends on the Department of Homeland Security and the states collaborating to find a way of implementing its requirements in a fiscally responsible and risk adjusted manner.
(E) Therefore, the state [Department of Driver Services] is directed to withhold any legislation designed to implement the Real ID Act in this state until such time as the Department of Homeland Security has enacted regulations that define the exact type of information that is to be required on a state driver’s license.
(F) Furthermore, before the Real ID Act is implemented in this state, the [Governor] is entitled to review the regulations promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security and determine if they adequately safeguard and restrict use of the information in order to protect the privacy rights of the citizens of this state.
(G) The citizens of this state also recognize the importance of ensuring that drivers’ licenses are issued only to people legally present in this state. Therefore, the use of secure and verifiable identification will be required in this state in order to obtain a driver’s license. This requirement is in harmony with the intent of the Real ID Act to secure identification processes in this country.
(H) The [Department of Driver Services] is instructed to take the necessary steps to become a participant in the SAVE Program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements). This program, administered by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, is designed to verify the immigration status of noncitizens.
Section 3. [Delaying Compliance with federal Real ID Act, H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13.]
(A) The [Governor], or his or her designee, is authorized to delay compliance with certain provisions of the federal Real ID Act, H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13, enacted by Congress in 2005, until it is expressly guaranteed by the Department of Homeland Security, through adequately defined safeguards, that implementation of the Real ID Act will not compromise the economic privacy or biological sanctity of any citizen or resident of this state. This section shall not be interpreted as limiting the [Governor’s] discretion or authority to delay compliance with certain provisions of the Real ID Act for any other reason.
(B) The [Department of Driver Services] shall not issue an identification card, license, permit, or other official document to an applicant who is a noncitizen, until the applicant has been confirmed through the SAVE Program to be lawfully present in the United States.
(C) This Act shall not apply to instances when a federal law mandates acceptance of a document.
(D) Subsection (B) of this Code section shall become effective upon the [department’s] full implementation of the SAVE Program but not later than [January 1, 2008].
Section 4. [Severability.] [Insert severability clause.]
Section 5. [Repealer.] [Insert repealer clause.]
Section 6. [Effective Date.] [Insert effective date.]