Cruz: Real ID bill signed into law, Pa. on track to meet compliance deadline

PHILADELPHIA, June 5 – Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law the bill that would help put Pennsylvania in line with federal Real ID rules and ensure that state residents don’t face difficulty using their IDs for air travel or visits to federal facilities, said state Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila.

“Pennsylvania, and more specifically Philadelphia has experienced significant changes in its ethnic and racial composition over the last two decades. That’s why this law is especially important for us. Thousands of Latinos, Asians and residents of other races often visit their families back in their home countries. This will allow them to continue to do so, obtaining a compliant Real ID,” said Cruz.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will provide Pennsylvanians the option of choosing a standard driver’s license or photo ID card, or IDs that are Real ID-compliant.

Before those changes can take effect, the federal Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue extensions that would allow Pennsylvanians to continue using their standard driver's license to fly and access federal buildings until 2020.

The federal Real ID Act of 2005 was established by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on recommendation by the 9/11 Commission after the Sept. 11 attacks. That law requires driver's licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people to prove they are legally in the United States.

Pennsylvania had been given a deadline of June 6 to adhere to the 2005 federal Real ID Act. Otherwise, residents could have been prohibited from using their state-issued identification to board a plane, starting in 2018, or enter certain federal buildings, starting this summer.

The Real ID license will likely cost more than the standard license, but without the Real ID license, Pennsylvanians will need a passport or military ID to fly or enter many federal facilities.

As documented by the U.S. Census Bureau, during the last 20 years the Hispanic and Asian populations in Philadelphia have increased by 110 and 127 percent, respectively.