The Real ID Act

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by ScreamingEagle, May 31, 2005.

  1. ScreamingEagle

    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

    Jul 5, 2004
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    Coming Soon: National ID Cards?
    Recently passed Real ID Act undermines civil rights, critics charge.
    Erik Larkin, Medill News Service
    Tuesday, May 31, 2005

    WASHINGTON -- Driver's licenses will become national ID cards--and Americans will be at greater risk of identity theft--under a new federal law that passed without significant congressional debate, critics charge.

    The Real ID Act will require that states verify every license applicant's identity and residency status, and that they store addresses, names, and driving records in a database that every other state can access. It also mandates anticounterfeiting features for the licenses and a "common machine readable technology." In three years, licenses that don't meet the standards won't be accepted as identification for boarding an airplane, opening a bank account, or satisfying any other federally regulated use.

    The law's sponsor, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) said that the law "seeks to prevent another 9/11-type terrorist attack by disrupting terrorist travel." Opponents contend that the act is primarily meant to prevent people who illegally immigrate to the United States from getting licenses.

    When he introduced the bill at a press conference earlier this year, Sensenbrenner referred to a part of the report from the September 11 Commission that read, "Members of al-Qaida clearly valued freedom of movement as critical to their ability to plan and carry out the attacks prior to September 11th.

    He said that his proposed legislation would curtail such movement and would tighten the rules for political asylum. In response to questions from reporters, he also suggested that the law was intended to "get a handle on illegal aliens in the United States."

    How It Passed
    The controversy surrounding the new law relates to the way it was passed as much as to what it does. Because it passed as an amendment to an emergency spending bill providing funding for American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Real ID Act did not come up for a vote on its own--or for full debate--in Congress.

    "This really is a national identification card for the United States of America for the first time in our history," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) in the Senate the day before the spending bill passed. "We have never done this before, and we should not be doing it without a full debate."

    According to critics, what makes this a national ID--as opposed to another form of classification such as a Social Security card--is the fact that driver's licenses already serve as standard forms of identification for everything from entering a bar to boarding an airplane. Though the Real ID Act doesn't obligate states to follow the new national standards, their licenses and state IDs won't satisfy ID requirements for any purpose under federal jurisdiction unless the states comply.

    Alexander and 11 other senators, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) last month asking him to block the amendment.

    Though Alexander strongly opposed passing the Real ID Act without debate, he said he was "reluctantly" in favor of a national ID in the wake of September 11. Other observers remain deeply concerned by the prospect.

    Risk of ID Theft
    "This is serious business," says Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate. If you want to board a plane, "you have to show your papers."

    Scannell's Web site,, gathered more than 10,000 comments in 28 hours from people asking their senators to block the amendment the day before the Senate vote. Scannell faxed all those comments to the appropriate senators, but he says that his failed last-minute attempt was "like the charge of the light brigade."

    The new law, which takes effect in three years, establishes general requirements, but the Department of Homeland Security will decide how to implement the broad-brush mandates. Anyone with a license from a state that doesn't meet Real ID's standards will have to get a new license before then.

    continued at:,aid,121077,00.asp
  2. Mr. P

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Aug 5, 2004
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    South of the Mason Dixon
    Don't cha just love "LESS GOVERNMENT" in your life..These guys are blowing it worse than the Democrats ever could have!:cuckoo:

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