SACRAMENTO–More than 3 million Californians who obtained new identification cards to comply with a federal mandate might have to return to the Department of Motor Vehicles because the state did not adhere to Homeland Security guidelines when it developed the program.
The Department of Homeland Security on Monday sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter notifying him that the DMV failed to require Californians to provide adequate verification of their residences when they sought so-called Real ID cards.
The letter says that Californians with Real ID cards must provide more information to the DMV.
The DMV said in a statement that 3.4 million Californians had obtained Real ID licenses, and the department plans to contact them.
It has a plan for Californians to comply with the Homeland Security requirements simply by returning a letter from the DMV by mail. They also could visit a field office, or check in online.
That returned letter would represent a second proof of residency, which the says would fulfill federal guidelines.
“The DMV will be sending letters to individuals who submitted one proof of residency to acquire their Real ID card, informing them to send the letter back to DMV to serve as their proof of second residency,” the DMV statement reads.
The Homeland Security letter represents the latest lapse in California’s long struggle to implement the Real ID program, which Congress created 14 years ago as a more rigorous security measure following the 2001 terrorist attacks. Americans must have Real ID cards by Oct. 1, 2020 if they want to board airplanes and enter other federal facilities without a passport.
The DMV had faced a looming deadline to correct the problem, but the federal government agreed to a May 24 extension so the DMV could implement a plan of “corrective action.”
Under the agreement, the DMV has until June 20 to send out letters to Californians who currently have Real ID cards.
By April 29, all future customers applying for Real IDs will need to provide “two documents demonstrating address of principal residence.”
A recent audit blasted the DMV for having a “reactive culture” that was ill-prepared to implement Real ID, which contributed to longer wait times last summer. According to the report, Real ID “was not recognized as a priority until 2017.” In response to the findings, the DMV asked lawmakers for an extra $168 million — a request that will be heard in the Capitol Tuesday afternoon. (Source: The Sacramento Bee)