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Maine's off the Real ID hook -- at least for now

Maine has been granted an extension to the implementation deadline for the Real ID system, which would standardize a national ID system, Governor Baldacci's office announced today. Without the extension, Mainers would not have been able to use their driver's licenses for federal identification purposes -- like traveling on an airplane -- after May 11, 2008. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to the extension with the understanding that Maine would modify its credential-issuing system. According to a press release issued by the governor's office this afternoon, some of the required modifications include:
  • Maine will enter into an agreement with USCIS and utilize the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program to verify DHS documents presented by non-citizens.
  • Maine will set the term for any license that it issues to lawfully present non-citizens so that the license’s term expires when the alien’s legal status ends.
  • Maine will commit to looking into the most cost-effective way to ensure that customers do not have more than one driver’s license or identification card already issued by the state, such as facial recognition or similar technology.
The Maine Civil Liberties Union, which staunchly opposes the Real ID system on both practical and philosophical grounds, calls the DHS demands "blackmail," and claims that other states are not being asked to meet such requirements.

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