By Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter
Dear Secretary Chertoff,
The rules recently released by the Department of Homeland Security bear little resemblance to that objective. Instead they represent a massive unfunded mandate requiring states to invest in systems of identification that will literally cost billions of dollars. We cannot even begin to measure the costs to our way of life in terms of freedom, privacy and mobility -- all fundamental tenets in America today.
The one option that is given to states, which would allow a passport to be a substitute for a REAL-ID is, in reality, not an option at all. The current time it takes to get a passport can and does exceed 90 days. Even an expedited passport can take 30 days, and because the person requesting a new passport must relinquish the old one, this option would effectively deny basic services to American citizens for months. This is completely unacceptable.
We therefore call upon the department to refocus the rules on the primary objective of reducing fraud, and to return the concept of REAL-ID to one of better security for America's citizens. The states will not participate in the burdensome program that has ballooned out of a noble concept and we will be no closer to better security than we were before the tragic events of 9/11. The final rules must:
The final rules must not prescribe specific technologies
that are subject to change.
Goveronr C.L. “Butch” Otter
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While we await his response, please keep in mind that Idaho’s congressional delegation also is working to ensure that security and fraud prevention are the focus of REAL-ID. Secretary Chertoff’s response, and the proof that we see through his agency’s implementation of the law, will determine Idaho’s path forward.