Real ID California license
© Emily Zentner - The Sacramento Bee
A new form of government identification that was meant to go into effect in 2008 is being delayed yet again, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday.

The nationwide rollout of Real ID is being delayed by two years due to COVID-19, the department said in a press release.

Real ID will be needed to board domestic flights and enter federal facilities when finally implemented.

The push until 2025 was made 'to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver's license or identification card.'

DHS said the additional time will give motor vehicle agencies the ability to work through backlogs created by the pandemic, when many services were greatly reduced to comply with lockdown regulations and other public health precautions.

'This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card,' Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

'DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.'

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress nearly two decades ago, in 2005, to federalize security standards for driver's licenses and other ID cards.

It was a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks that took place four years before the bill passed.

Backers of the measure say it enhances airline safety by making it harder to board a plane with fake identification documents, and standardizes ID security markers on the state and federal level.

But years of glitches as well as poor communication between the state and federal level have hampered the rollout - not to mention objections from both sides of the aisle.

On the right, the libertarian think tank Cato Institute has long opposed the concept of a 'national ID system.'

Progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union call it an unfair invasion of privacy.

'If fully implemented, the law would facilitate the tracking of data on individuals and bring government into the very center of every citizen's life,' the ACLU's website said on the matter.

'By definitively turning driver's licenses into a form of national identity documents, Real ID would have a tremendously destructive impact on privacy.'