Texas Matters: TSA vs. Texas Drivers License

Jan 11, 2016

Texas drivers license don't meet the standards of the Federal Real I.D. Act and the TSA says it could stop accepting them by year's end. However, critics say this is a bluff and would not stand up to a court challenge.

The Transportation Security Administration (the TSA) says it could stop accepting the Texas driver’s license as a valid form of identification by the end of the year. Texans would be required to produce another form of I.D. like a passport if they want to fly even within the borders of the United States.

However, privacy experts like Edward Hasbrouck say this is not true. Hasbrouck is the director of the Identity Project and the founder of Papersplease.ORG. He says that the courts have held that under the First Amendment’s freedom to assemble the TSA does not have the right to require any I.D. to board an airplane.

Hasbrouck says the TSA is pushing states like Texas to meet the standards of the REAL ID Act, a federal law that was passed in 2005. Texas is one of a group of about 30 states and U.S. territories that have not complied with the federal real ID act.

Hasbrouck and others object to the REAL ID Act as a way to create a “national identification card.” They’ve also been critical of it as a further erosion of people's national liberties. And it would be another way that the Department of Homeland Security could gather, sift and store massive amounts of information about law-abiding Americans.