Contact: Jared King
Navajo Nation Washington Office
For Immediate Release
Navajo President Ben Shelly Meets With U.S Dept. of Homeland Security Assistant Secretaries
Navajo IDs Will Not Be Affected By REAL ID
WASHINGTON—On April 26, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly met with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman, and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Betsy Markey, to discuss the impact of the upcoming effective date of the REAL ID Act on the Navajo Nation’s tribal identification program.
Beginning in Jan. 2013, federal agencies will no longer accept state-issued identification for official purposes that do not meet the requirements of the act. This means that a person will be unable to enter a federal building or board an airplane if their ID is not REAL ID-compliant.
Many states are refusing to comply with the act, and many will be unable to meet its requirements by Jan.
The act and federal regulations do not list Indian tribes as ‘State’ entities obligated to meet the requirements of the act.
The Navajo Nation has been developing a tribal ID for several years, and Navajo officials remained concerned that this omission would mean the Navajo Nation’s new ID’s would have limited use beginning next Jan.
President Shelly received assurances that the act will not effect tribal ID’s, and that the Navajo Nation’s ID’s will continue to be valid. The President was also able to initiate a dialogue on technical assistance to ensure that Navajo’s new ID’s are, and will be, valid for travel and citizenship verification in the long term.
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