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New Washington Drivers’ License Solves REAL ID Issue–Sort Of

New enhanced Driver's License now meets Federal REAL ID requirements (Washington State DOL)
New enhanced Driver’s License now meets Federal REAL ID requirements (Washington State DOL)

Friday, the Washington state Legislature approved bills that will make our state compliant with the Federal REAL ID Act. But it still doesn’t address the issue of potential illegals getting drivers licenses.

The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, and it set certain criteria for government issued identification. It had to do with curbing illegal immigration, by requiring documentation proof of citizenship.

According to Senate Majority officials, Washington was the ONLY state that did not require proof of citizenship or having to provide a Social Security number to get a license. Soon, our state’s license would not meet federal requirements and could not be used for out of country travel etc. It would have created a lot of issues for card holders.

Now, the new bill will make the state’s enhanced license in line with the REAL ID act, and will allow for certain types of foreign travel, including to Canada.  You must be a U.S. Citizen and proper proof of such to get an enhanced license. However, undocumented immigrants are among those who can still get a ‘regular’ license.

It’s that point that critics say why the REAL ID license bill doesn’t address the issue of illegals, because it still allows those who are potentially illegal to get a regular license.  They say it’s contrary to the reason the REAL ID Act was passed in the first place.

The price of the enhanced ID however, will drop from $108 to $78 due to what officials say is already increased demand. That price tag is why I didn’t renew my enhanced last year. Had to have it when all of our DJ’s took that Townsquare Media DJ cruise to Alaska a few years ago, by way of Vancouver, B.C.   We had to have enhanced ID’s to travel through Canada.

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