Domesticating the U.S. Passport

The 2005 REAL ID Act has long reminded me of those old 1950 and 60s film noir spy movies where an Eastern Bloc KGB/Gestapo-type official would ask for papers to make certain the protagonist had the ‘right permissions’ to travel and the suspense would build because they didn’t. Well, that scenario is coming to pass in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Beginning in 2016, travelers from four U.S. states and a U.S. territory won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID to board domestic airline flights. This is because Louisiana, Minnesota, American Samoa, New Hampshire and New York haven’t yet issued state ID cards that meet the federal guideline set forth by the act.

If you’re from one of these states, ‘acceptable’ IDs include passports and passport cards, permanent residency cards, U.S. military IDs, and Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler cards like Global Entry and NEXUS. However 38-percent of all Americans don’t have a passport and the numbers grow from there.

The Transportation Safety Administration will also accept Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, the kind used to replace passports for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. And of the non-compliant states, only New York and Minnesota issue enhanced licenses.

This is crazy, considering states are now issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.


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