DHS made the announcement Friday seeking to clarify what Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said earlier in response to a question in a television interview. Mayorkas had said the agency was "taking a very close look" at the possibility of vaccine passports as the coronavirus pandemic eases and Americans begin to travel overseas.
Twila Brase of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom suggests Mayorkas "may be talking from what he knows inside his own agency or some thought that they have had and forgetting that President Biden has said, 'No, they're not going to be doing that.'"
She adds: "Some of Biden's other staff have also said that they're not going to be doing it as well. However, the Department of Homeland Security is heading up the REAL ID program … and that makes me think that there is perhaps some discussion within the department that they would use the vaccination passport as a way to advance REAL ID, which has been delayed now for another two years."
The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses."
The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting (for certain purposes) driver's licenses and ID cards from states not meeting the Act's minimum standards.
The ability to board a flight is one area where people might see or hear the need for REAL ID, but Brase is concerned that people might one day be told they need it for health care services.
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