Feds: Standard Washington IDs are not good enough

The Department of Homeland Security will no longer grant Washington state extensions to comply with federal ID requirements. That could mean big changes if you want to travel by air.

SEATTLE -- By the beginning of 2016, standard Washington driver's licenses may no longer be good enough to visit certain federal facilities and, eventually, they may prevent people from getting on a commercial airplane -- even for a domestic flight.

The Department of Homeland Security will no longer grant Washington state extensions to comply with federal ID requirements. DHS says the standard driver's licenses are no longer good enough.

It the state doesn't act in satisfying federal requirements, it will mean one of two things for those with standard IDs. Those cardholders will need to pay more for enhanced driver's licenses or they will need to bring a second form of ID that's federally-approved before traveling to the airport.

Washington is among 24 states that have yet to satisfy REAL ID requirements, laid out in an act of Congress years ago. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is concerned about the issue, is now asking the DHS to provide more clarity and a reasonable timeline for her state to get in line.

"This issue is the perfect example of the gridlock and dysfunction in Congress," said GOP U.S. Senate candidate Chris Vance.

Vance is challenging Murray's re-election bid. He says D.C. politicians got it wrong from the start on a main focus of REAL ID -- proving residency.

"At this point the state has no choice," said Vance. "The governor should call a special session and the state should fix this problem. Of course illegal immigrants should not have driver's licenses, but the real answer to this is for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform."

Washington and New Mexico are the only two states that do not require proof of legal presence to get an ID.

Immigration rights advocates say state identification cards are necessary for all of the basics from driving a car to opening a bank account. Others say staying secure requires verifying residency.

A spokesperson for Sen. Murray says she is continuing to work with federal officials on the issue.

Currently, it's unclear if the state plans to start verifying residency to satisfy federal requirements.

It is also unclear when the standard Washington IDs will no longer be accepted at airport security lines. The Feds say they will announce the timing of enforcement in December.


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