Updated: Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 8:33 AM MST
Published : Tuesday, 08 Dec 2009, 11:43 AM MST
WASHINGTON (KRQE) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is putting contingency plans in place in case Congress doesn't act to roll back some restrictions of the REAL ID Act, according to a statement released to News 13.
According to the statement from DHS spokesperson Matthew Chandler, the department may extend the deadline to comply with REAL ID as a last resort.
Under the current deadline, states have until Dec. 31 to implement REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses.
License-holders in states that don't comply wouldn't be able to use their licenses to board federally regulated airplanes or enter nuclear facilities, and instead would have to use an approved ID like a passport.
Chandler said the majority of states have advised the Department of Homeland Security they won't be able to comply by the deadline. New Mexico is one of those states.
The extension, Chandler said, "is a temporary approach that does not advance our security interests over the long-term, and DHS continues to urge Congress to enact a permanent solution to fulfill this key 9/11 Commission recommendation."
Instead, the department is asking Congress to replace REAL ID with PASS ID, which keeps many but not all of the requirements of REAL ID.
Under the proposal, states would still have to require a digital photograph, signature and machine-readable features like a bar code, and would have to verify applicants' identities and legal status.
But, states would not have to use a national database to store and cross-check ID information or verify birth certificates with originating agencies.
Under the proposal, the department would have nine months to write new regulations, and then states would have five years to reissue driver's licenses.