Facing a showdown with Washington, the state of Maine will find a way to comply with the federal government’s Real ID system, Gov. John Baldacci said Tuesday. The Department of Homeland Security told Baldacci that it would not allow Maine residents to use their current driver’s licenses to board airplanes or enter federal office buildings after May 11 if he did not agree to change the state’s immigration policies, reports the Portland Press Herald.
Maine is among a number of states that have balked at costly provisions of Real ID, a federal security mandate instituted after 9/11. The department said Maine either would have to stop issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants or create separate licenses for citizens and illegal immigrants. The state also would have to use a federal database to verify identifying documents; ensure that driver’s licenses for documented immigrants expire on the same date as their visas; adopt facial recognition technology, and take a photograph as the first step in the licensing process. The state has until the end of today to show that it should be given an extension to bring its driver’s license in compliance with the Real ID law.