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Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published May 10,2021.

Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Good morning attorney. Thank you for joining me today to talk about this incredibly important topic that our listeners will be learning about today.

Question 1:

Attorney, what is the Real ID Act of 2005 and why is it so important today?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning, Reyna. The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 after the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The Real ID Act of 2005 “sets minimum security for license issuance and production and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting documents such as driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet the act’s minimum standards.” This is why when you go to the airport you will see a lot of signs that state that your driver’s license must be Real ID compliant. Real ID driver’s licenses usually have a star on the top right of the document. These ID’s are built with new technology and require a lot more paperwork from the applicant to prove their residency and their social security number. Why is the Real ID Act of 2005 relevant today? The Act is very important, and it is certainly relevant today because EVERY STATE WITHIN THE UNITED STATES MUST Be Real ID compliant by October 1, 2021. Those using driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by non-compliant States could be hindered from flying on airplanes, riding on trains and buses within the United States.  They could also be hindered or prevented from accessing federal buildings and potentially prevented from exercising other rights that they otherwise would have where a license or identification card is required. Perhaps many people don’t realize this; but, the driver’s license in their pocket or purse right now could already be Real ID compliant because many States have been issuing Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and other ID Cards for years now in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.
  • Reyna, the reasons that I have just listed are just some of the reasons why the Real ID Act of 2005 is relevant in 2021 and beyond. People who have licenses that are not compliant on October 1, 2021 could be hindered and possibly prohibited from doing a lot of things that people simply take for granted now.  People need to pull out their driver’s license to see whether it is Real ID compliant.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, I now clearly understand why the Real ID Act of 2005 is so important. Everyone needs to have a Real ID Act compliant driver’s license or ID card in their possession by October 1, 2021!

Question 2:

Does this mean that if people do not have a Real ID compliant document, they won’t be able to use their identification document anymore?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • No, not necessarily. The two words to pay attention to here is “not necessarily”. I mean, who wants the hassle when they simply are engaging in everyday life activities. I mean; they may get unnecessary questions and delays doing such things as traveling to see their extended family within the U.S. on a busy holiday.  They are stuck in some airport confirming their identity before they can get through airport security.  They could miss their flight.  This is merely a hypothetical of some inconvenience that could potentially occur from using non-compliant driver’s licenses after October 1, 2021.   But let me be clear here; for now, people will still be able to use their non-compliant real ID document to drive and vote. Many States are looking at State election laws right now and possibly Real ID compliant identification documents would be required to Vote by some State legislatures.  That is something to watch out for as the dust settles regarding these attempts to restrict voting by change or modification of election laws around the country.
  • Note that a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card cannot be used for international travel. Official Passports lawfully issued to the person by the U.S. Government or other appropriate government is required to travel internationally to anywhere in the world. However, beginning October 1, 2021, when it comes to domestic travel, people will need to provide other documents if they do not have a Real ID driver’s license or ID Card; such as:
    • A valid U.S. passport
    • Permanent Resident card
    • Border crossing card
    • Federally recognized tribal issued photo
    • USCIS Employment Authorization card
  • Again, the basic concern people should have when using a non-compliant driver’s license after October 1, 2021 is the real possibility of hassle and delays while officials or merchants or whoever conducts some form of inquiry or investigation trying to determine their real identity.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

I hear you, attorney; who needs the hassle; life is full of stress and strain as it is. Who need unnecessary disruption and drama created from using a non-compliant driver’s license?  But it’s good to see that people will still have other options to prove their real identity when it comes to domestic travel within the United States.

Question 3:

So tell me attorney, what categories of immigrants in the United States qualify to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or State issued ID?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following categories of immigrants in the U.S. are eligible to apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card at their local Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV):
    1. Immigrants who are currently United States Lawful Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders
    2. Immigrants who have a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident
    3. Immigrants who are currently hold the status of temporary resident of the United States
    4. Immigrants who have conditional permanent resident status such as valid work permit in the U.S.
    5. Immigrants who have an approved asylum application
    6. Immigrants who have a valid unexpired nonimmigrant visa, such as, an F-1 Student Visa
    7. Immigrants who have a pending asylum application
    8. Immigrants who have a pending Temporary Protective Status Application or approved TPS
    9. Immigrants who have an approved deferred action status, such as Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival or DACA
  • Note that State and Local laws and regulations could be a factor as to who is eligible to apply for a driver’s license or ID Card. These State rules could potentially modify or even exclude immigrants from this eligibility for Real ID card list.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you very much for this thorough presentation of those immigrants who are potentially eligible for Real ID.

Question 4:

So how will REAL ID impact undocumented immigrants who live in states that issue them a state ID, but don’t meet any of the categories you just mentioned?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Well Reyna, the Department of Homeland Security, DHS has stated in several announcements that some States issue noncompliant cards to undocumented people. If that is so; DHS requires that those non-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards clearly state that the ID card is not acceptable for REAL ID purpose. These non-compliant driver’s licenses have a unique design or color to differentiate them from Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards.
  • DHS has also made it clear, however, that just because an individual carries a noncompliant identification card or driver’s license does not mean that anyone should that the holder of this unique, stand out type card is undocumented.
  • A critical point that people should be aware is this one: Issuance of licenses to individuals are a matter of State law and not federal law.  States have the right to set their own standards, rules, and regulations eligibility for issuance of driver’s licenses and other licenses within their State.  Eligibility standards and application requirements are different from State to State.  For example, in California, undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card in that State; however, undocumented people in Texas are not eligible to receive a Real ID compliant driver’s license or any other identification card.  People residing in Texas should check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle to learn the requirements for issuance of identification licensure within the State.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Okay, attorney, this has been very informative. You have made it crystal clear that issuance of driver’s licenses and identification documents are determined by State laws and regulations and not federal laws. Licensure rules vary from State to State.  Eligibility requirements are different in each State.  It just depends upon where the immigrant resides within the United States as to whether they can obtain a Real ID complaint driver’s license or other identification.   In Texas, check with the Department of Motor Vehicle for driver’s licensing eligibility requirements and procedures.
  • Some of the listeners of our Legal Thoughts Podcast reside in other States and even overseas. I have noticed.

Question 5:

Attorney, where can immigrants and others find more information on REAL ID in their own specific State since a lot of our listeners are not from Texas?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Individuals who desire to learn more about REAL ID in regard to their own State, should visit: dhs.gov/real-id
  • This is a very user-friendly site with plenty of information readily available to anyone with an internet connection. Furthermore, the site has webpages explaining these REAL ID issues in Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Thank you for sharing this website, attorney. Potentially many people could find all of this information incredibly timely and helpful since States must comply with the READ ID Act of 2005 and become compliant by October 1, 2021. Those are all my questions for now in regard to the REAL ID Act of 2005. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this important topic.
  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts everyone in America; including, undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, government contract law, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.