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DHS Announces New Standards for Driver’s Licenses

January 14, 2008

DHS Announces New Standards for Driver’s Licenses
Jan. 14, 2008 – Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses last week. The new standards aim to enhance the integrity and reliability of drivers’ licenses and identification cards and increases security at production facilities. They should also reduce state implementation costs by roughly 73 percent.

The new cards must meet specific requirements such as proof of identity and U.S. citizenship or legal status of an applicant; verification of the source documents provided by an applicant; and security standards for the offices that issue licenses and identification cards.

By Dec. 31, 2009, states must upgrade the security of their license systems, to include a check for lawful status of all applicants. Compliance will be needed for access into a federal facility, boarding commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants, according to USA Today. Enrollment will be completed for all individuals under 50 years of age by Dec. 1, 2014. For all others, enrollment may be extended three additional years to Dec. 1, 2017.

Chertoff says the new rules will make it harder for terrorists to get through security checks, curb illegal immigration and reduce identity theft.

"This kind of identification gives us a tremendous tool in preventing dangerous people from getting on airplanes or getting into federal buildings," Chertoff says. "Second, secure identification happens to be a very good way to prevent illegal immigrants from pretending to be American citizens so they can work illegally in this country."

Chertoff says his department reviewed more than 21,000 comments from citizens, states and organizations before finalizing the rules

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