A month ago — in what seems like it was long ago and in a galaxy far, far, away, before the COVID-19 pandemic reduced air travel in the US by more than 95% — the US Department of Homeland Security was stepping up its baseless threats to begin “enforcement” of the REAL-ID Act against airline passengers on October 1, 2020.
There’s been no change (yet) in the REAL-ID Act or the regulations for its implementation, despite proposals that remain pending in Congress.
Over the last month, though, President Trump, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, and the Transportation Security Administration have each issued formal or informal notices or statements about their intentions with respect to the REAL-ID Act and ID demands for air travel.
As of now, it appears that the DHS/TSA “ultimatum” to air travelers to obtain “compliant” ID cards or be denied passage through TSA and contractor checkpoints at airports will be postponed yet again, this time for another year, until October 1, 2021.
After that date, it appears that the TSA intends to continue to allow people to fly even if they don’t show ID at checkpoints, but only if it the TSA or its contractors thinks that they have been issued some compliant ID (even though they don’t have it with them).
Is this legal? No. Does this make any sense? No. But it’s what the TSA seems to saying it plans to propose. The TSA is asking for comments on this proposal from the public through May 19, 2020.