Louisiana's REAL ID deadline is coming up May 3rd, 2023.  After that date, you will need to present the Real ID to be able to board an airplane, access federal facilties, or enter a nuclear power plant. (There goes my weekend plans).  On the surface, Real ID sounds like it makes sense.  According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles,

Secure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

So, with such lofty intentions, what could possibly go wrong?  Why is Lousiana's Real ID a real bad idea?

Personal Security

REAL ID is being billed as a necessity for national security.  But it is actually going to violate cititzen's personal privacy in a major way.  The federal government is, in effect, creating a National ID.  By consolidating everyone's personal information into a network of databases able to be accessed by federal employees, it opens the average citizen to snooping by the government, tracking your movement, and makes one even more vulnerable to identity thieves.

Identification Information

When applying for a REAL ID you must present at least one of the following documents.

  • A valid, unexpired United States passport or passport card.
  • Original birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States. "State" includes the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico (must be certified as being issued on or after July 1,2010), or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Consular report of birth abroad issued by the United States Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545.
  • Certificate of naturalization issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Form N-550 or N-570.
  • Certificate of citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561, issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Social Security Information

There have been questions about whether or not you need to provide your Social Security number.  According to  Homeland Security, the answer is yes.

Both the REAL ID Act and regulation still require states to collect and retain an individual’s social security account number during the application process.

According to Expresslane.org:

Social Security information can be provided verbally.

Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles utilizes Social Security Online Verification (SSOLV) to verify the Social Security information with the Social Security Administration. The following list contains acceptable documents of social security verification:

  • Social Security Card
  • W-2 Tax Form with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • SSA-1099 with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A non-SSA 1099 form with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A pay stub with the applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • If an applicant temporarily resides in the United States, he should visit the following link for information on social security requirements: Driver's License Issuance for Aliens Temporarily Residing in Louisiana. Verification proof is required from the Social Security Administration if the applicant is not eligible for a social security number.

Residency Information

THEN, you need to provide:

Present two (2) original documents which include the applicant’s name and Louisiana street address. The documents must be from separate/independent sources.

  • Utility bills (i.e., water, sewer, gas, electric, cable/satellite TV, internet, telephone/cell phone, or garbage collection)
  • Financial statements (i.e., bank/credit union account, investment account, credit card account, or loan/credit financing)
  • Applicant's unexpired Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card that shows his current principal residence
  • Employer verification, including, but not limited to, one of the following: - Paycheck or paycheck stub - Letter from your employer on company letterhead - W-2 for earnings issued - Military orders issued
  • The applicant's parent, guardian, spouse or other immediate family member residing in the same household’s valid Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card. The family member must be present.
  • Health insurance statement or explanation of benefits (EOB) for claim or a health care bill/invoice
  • State of Louisiana or Federal income tax return or refund check
  • Social Security documentation including Social Security Annual Statement, Numerical Identification System record, or Social Security check
  • School record or transcript, report card, or student loan application
  • Homeowners insurance policy or premium bill
  • Mortgage, payment coupon, deed, escrow statement or property tax bill
  • Louisiana Voter Registration card
  • Auto-Insurance Policy
  • Unexpired Firearms License (Gun Permit)
  • I-797A or I-797C issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Refugee Address Verification Affidavit (DS-20)
  • Current, valid, rental contract/agreement and/or rent payment receipts for a home, apartment, mobile home, dorm, extended stay motel, retirement/assisted living home, or a letter from a shelter.

The federal government can of course access all of this information on any of us, so why are they collecting it?  I can't believe I'm agreeing with the ACLU, but in this instance, I do.  REAL ID is nothing more than a National ID, allowing the federal government the ability to track data on it's citizens.  By taking a state function and turning it into a national one, creating a national ID, the federal government is once again over-reaching into state policies, enacting more control over Americans.

Many states are opposed to the REAL ID Act, which is why the deadline keeps getting postponed and moved back. Louisiana should also oppose this legislation.

"Where are your papers??"

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