Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Peters Pushes for REAL ID Extension

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the upcoming October 1, 2020 deadline for American air travelers to obtain a REAL ID-compliant form of identification. Nationwide social distancing efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak are currently underway, and unnecessary crowding at license issuing agencies in Michigan and across the country could endanger the health and wellbeing of countless Americans. The Delay REAL ID Act would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend the REAL ID deadline for a minimum of one year, to at least October 1, 2021. Peters introduced the bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ron Johnson (R-WI).

“As we continue to combat the Coronavirus pandemic in Michigan and across the country, we must do everything we can to limit large gatherings that could accelerate the spread of this deadly virus,” said Senator Peters. “Extending the rapidly approaching REAL ID deadline is a sensible solution that will help protect the health and safety of Michiganders, and give them peace of mind knowing they have more time to get their new IDs.”

“Moving back the Real ID deadline will support public health by reducing the pressure on Americans to make in-person office visits to attain them,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “I am grateful to Senator Peters and other legislators showing leadership at this time.”

As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Peters is dedicated to keeping Michiganders safe during the Coronavirus pandemic, protecting our national security and ensuring air travel security. Beginning October 1st, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require all air travelers over the age of 18 to present REAL ID-compliant forms of identification in order to fly. A recent survey indicates that only 27% of American residents had obtained a license that is REAL ID-compliant, and 43% of Americans are unaware of the deadline. The Centers for Disease Control and other public health entities have recommended against having large gatherings to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without an extension, millions of Americans will be required to visit state government offices, like Departments of Motor Vehicles, where hundreds of individuals may be gathered at once, contradicting recommendations and best practices to protect health and safety during the Coronavirus pandemic.