As the Real ID Deadline Closes In, How will the Requirement Affect Tribal Citizens?

Local News

Americans now have less than a year to switch over from your average driver’s license to the Real ID. As the clock winds down, KX News is putting you first to answer any remaining questions about the process.

Today, we spoke with the head of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission to find out if the Real ID poses a problem for those who only have a Tribal ID.

The short answer from Executive Director Scott Davis is, no. But North Dakota officials leave us with a lot of unanswered questions.

“When you brought this thing forward, it really made me think that we really need to make sure that we’re all on the same page. How do we work with the tribes, making sure that everything, every document, cards, etc. are going to be accepted when they come to the DOT to get that Real ID card,” said Davis.

And that’s just it. The implications that the Real ID requirements will have on those with solely a Tribal ID is being brought to the forefront for the first time.

Here’s what we do know:

All tribal IDs will still get you on a domestic flight. They are all federal level identification. Unlike a state-issued driver’s license, which will no longer qualify, starting next October.

Regardless, enrolled tribal citizens may still want one to ensure access into any federal buildings that already require you show ID. But access to a DMV for tribal members could be a big hurdle. Only the Turtle Mountain Reservation has one.

“I think that’s an issue, not just for tribal members, you know, but for rural folks in general. I mean you have to travel to the nearest, biggest city where they have that department,” added Davis.

“Because of the security requirements that are needed in order to produce the real ID, we can’t just go to a local church or school and open up shop for the day to produce a real ID,” explained North Dakota DOT Driver’s License Director, Brad Schaffer.

I also asked the DOT how tribal members will be able to fill the requirement of two documents that show proof of residence. Many simply have P.O. boxes, which don’t count.

“If you have something that’s not on this list, reach out to our office, and we’ll be able to work with everybody on an individual basis and come up with a solution,” shared Schaffer.

But here’s what we’re left wondering after conversations today:

Will enrolled tribal citizens actually need a Real ID to get into federal buildings?

I reached out to David Durgan, the North Dakota Federal Security Director.

He responded, “Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo IDs are an acceptable form of identification” at federal facilities.

But when I asked, if all federal buildings count, he said, “This question should be addressed by the individual building management/facility, since entrance requirements vary widely.”

“Obviously this law has been around a while, but time is coming, and I’m just glad we’re talking about this early on,” concluded Davis.

He told us he’s working on setting up additional meetings with federal officials to get solid answers to these remaining questions. Davis also said he’s in constant communication with the tribes to ensure if they need extra resources and information, they have it.

Stick with KX News for updates as we find out more.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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