U.S. Travel Urges DHS Extend REAL ID Deadline

To avert unnecessary hassles for air travelers beginning January 1, 2010, the U.S. Travel Association is urging Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to grant extensions to states who have not complied with a year-end deadline mandating compliance with federal requirements for issuing uniform personal identification materials.

U.S. Travel also endorsed the PASS ID legislation authored by Senators Akaka (D-HI), Lieberman (I-CT) and Collins (R-ME) which would help to find alternative common ground with states on document standards and largely address the current problem.

"No American should be denied or hindered in his or her constitutional right to travel due to a disagreement between levels of government on traveler identification documents," wrote U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow in a letter to Secretary Napolitano.

REAL ID requires travelers to present state-issued identification documents certified by the Department of Homeland Security beginning on January 1, 2010, or face additional screening by the Transportation Security Administration. But there is currently a stand-off between dozens of states and DHS over the largely unfunded mandate to comply with issuing the new identification documents.

U.S. Travel asked Secretary Napolitano, at a minimum, to insist that the Transportation Security Administration "develop, announce and deploy screening protocols" that would meet the legal obligations of the new REAL ID initiative without inconveniencing millions of American travelers.

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