New Real I.D. Rules To Shut Down Nation’s Airports in May?

Come May 11 this year, Georgia and Maine residents without passports may not be allowed into federal buildings and the lines at Hartsfield-Atlanta airport could stretch to Alabama, according to federal rules designed to morph state driver’s licenses in a national identification card that were released Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the final regulations Friday that implementing the Real ID act, legislation that requires states to standardize their driver’s licenses, forces current license holders to re-apply with certified copies of birth certificates and marriage licenses, and penalizes states that don’t comply by making their licenses unacceptable for federal purposes, such as entering Federal buildings. Without any hearings, the measure was slipped into a must-pass military spending bill in 2005 by Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

Eight states have already passed legislation opting out of the program, saying the costly program infringes on privacy and states rights. DHS originally estimated the cost of the program at $20 billion, but used creative math to slash that estimate by 73% today. Today’s estimate said the change would cost states $3.8 billion, and individuals $5.8 billion. The federal government has only authorized $80 million in earmarked funds for the states, but says states can raid their state grant funds to get at another $280 million dollars.

Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff said the regulations would make the country safer.

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