The state of Arizona will join Vermont and Washington state in creating a secure state identification document which can be used for travel within Canada and Mexico and will also likely meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act.
The so-called “3 in 1” driver license will satisfy the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires citizens to carry a passport or alternative document approved by the government when re-entering the country from abroad, as well as the requirements of REAL ID and as proof of employment eligibility, according to a statement (PDF) from Gov. Janet Napolitano’s office.
“Arizona’s new driver’s license is poised to be one of the nation’s first to comply with REAL ID requirements,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. And to think a few people didn’t believe me when I said this would be a back door to REAL ID implementation for border states.
“I applaud the leadership of the state of Arizona who came forward to join us in our effort to bolster security through secure identification,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This partnership helps us strike the right balance between security and facilitation, incorporating 21st century technology and innovation.”
The Arizona project will require approval from the legislature, which Napolitano has said she will seek.
“Arizona has been a leader among the states on issues related to border security and immigration,” Napolitano said in a stateemnt. “My hope is that this project will lead to an effective permanent program that can be implemented nationwide.”
We already have one of those; it’s called the REAL ID Act of 2005. States which fail to follow a Homeland Security implementation plan for REAL ID risk having that state’s IDs refused at airports, courthouses, national parks and for other federal purposes.
A bill in the Arizona legislature which would have opted the state out of REAL ID passed the state Senate earlier this year but stalled in the House.