Scare Tactics

State gets an Real ID extension

Federal officials, with help from the liberal media, continue to try to force Oklahoma lawmakers into the compliance with the Real ID act by threatening denied access to federal facilities and inaccessibility to airline flights for Oklahoma citizens.

Oklahoma Democrats in the Legislature panicked at the threat last week and filed bills to force  compliance.

But Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that Oklahoma has received an extension through October 10, 2016, to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security informed the state in a letter that “for the duration of this extension, federal agencies may accept Oklahoma-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards for official purposes in accordance with the phased enforcement schedule and existing agency policies.”

“This is great news for Oklahomans and means there will be no restrictions on individuals using Oklahoma licenses to fly or access federal buildings through October 10 of next year,” said Fallin. “In the meantime, I will work this legislative session with the Legislature, DPS, Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and the Department of Homeland Security on a permanent solution.”

Obama administration officials set an arbitrary date, October 10, for Oklahoma to comply but that extension came and passed without any action.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed Oklahoma Department of Public Safety officials on October 9 that that the grace period for compliance would be extended three more months.

Oklahoma citizens can still use their photo-ID drivers’ licenses or state-issued IDs to board airplanes and enter federal facilities. A press release by the DHS warned citizens to call military bases and federal buildings before they try to enter just to make sure they can get access with a drivers’ license or state ID. The Transportation Safety Administration will continue to accept valid driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by all states.

Oklahoma isn’t the only state that has refused to comply with the  mandate. If the mandates are ever enforced, the DHS plans to give states that don’t comply a 120-day advance notice that their citizens can’t fly or enter a federal facility without a U.S. passport. The 2005 Real ID act was an attempt to standardize security information on state-issued drivers’ licenses. More than half of the states refused because the federal standards violated the privacy of the citizens. Oklahoma licenses and IDs meet 65 percent of the federal mandates but state law prohibits full compliance.

In 2007, the Legislature passed a law that prohibits the Department of Public Safety from complying with the Real ID Act. Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon authored Senate Bill 464.

The bill prohibited the Department of Public Safety from collecting certain biometric data. It states that Oklahoma will not participate in the federal Real ID Act of 2005. It requires the DPS to report any attempts by federal agencies to enforce the provisions of that act. Oklahoma cannot issue drivers’ licenses or ID cards related to the Real ID Act.

In fact, any biometric date previously collected in connection with drivers’ licenses or motor vehicle registration was to be destroyed. That included facial feature characteristics, voice data, iris recognition data, retinal scans, behavior characteristics of handwritten signatures, recorded ridge patterns or fingertip characteristics from fingerprints or palm prints, keystroke dynamics, hand geometry (measuring hand characteristics including shape and length of fingers or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA and RNA).

The news media, including the liberal Tulsa World, are trying to scare the public into putting pressure on state officials to cave and submit to the Real ID mandates.

Jim Harper, in the Cato Institute on September 23, wrote, “Nobody needs to get a passport to fly domestically. No state needs to implement the REAL ID Act’s national ID mandates.”

Harper says there is widespread misreporting on the situation.  “This concerns some people when they first learn about it, but the REAL ID compliance deadline passed more than seven years ago with not one state in compliance,” Harper wrote. “DHS has improvised deadline after deadline since then, and it has caved every single time its deadlines have been reached.”

Harper said contrary to DHS claims, not one state is in compliance with the national ID law. He said the DHS has freely handed out deadline extensions to any state that shows any willingness to begin to comply. He wrote that the media is sending out a rumor that the TSA will categorically turn away airline passengers from a small group of states (including Oklahoma, New York and others) when it cracks down on enforcement in 2016.

“I am 100 percent certain they will not,” Harper wrote. “Every state will be out of compliance for the entire year, and the TSA will not implement a policy of refusing travelers from non-compliant states. The reason for my confidence is a basic understanding of the politics involved. If TSA – perhaps the most despised U.S. federal agency in history – refuses people the right to travel because they do not carry a national ID, the uproar will be intense and lasting. The lawsuits that follow such an action will make their heads spin. And it will all be focused at the federal government: the TSA, the DHS, and the U.S. Congress with its flaccid oversight of the security bureaucracy.”

Federal DHS bureaucrats will gauge the political backlash and won’t force the issue, Harper wrote.

“State officials who do similar calculations from their end realize that they don’t have to follow federal mandates this time, or ever, and that their states will be worse off if they do,” Harper said. “All this issue requires is a little sunlight.”