The Real ID Act was created by DHS after 9/11 to make it harder for terrorists and illegal immigrants to obtain government issued identification. This new secure identification program was passed into law in 2005 and the government plans to phase into the program. The Real ID Act will be initiated in phases with a target deadline of 2011 with the hope of all measures being in place by 2014.
This initiative was motivated by the September 11 attacks. One of the hijacker-pilots on that day had a total of four driver’s licenses and ID cards from three states.
The ACLU has written a formal objection to the Real ID act, claiming that it “would irreparably damage the fabric of American life”.
The Department of Homeland Security’s website provides in depth detail on the Real ID initiative and how this nationwide effort will “prevent terrorism, reduce fraud, and improve the reliability and accuracy of identification documents that State governments issue.”