May 11, 2005

National ID awaits President signature

The Senate today passed an $82 billion spending package 100-0 to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with a few "extras". Cobbled together with border control and tsunami relief is a provision which has been dubbed Real ID, or, as some opponents have renamed, UnRealID. Proposed by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. from Wisconsin, the bill essentially calls for nationalization of the drivers license. The Preseident is expected to sign the bill tomorrow.

Not surprisingly, the national ID card is not a new concept and has been proposed a number of times as a means of curbing illegal immigration. Steve Moore had an interesting quote from Reagan in the 80s when this was proposed:

The concept once surfaced in a Reagan cabinet meeting in 1981. Then-Attorney General William French Smith argued that a perfectly harmless ID card system would be necessary to reduce illegal immigration. A second cabinet member asked: why not tattoo a number on each American's forearm? According to Martin Anderson, the White House domestic policy adviser at the time, Reagan blurted out "My god, that's the mark of the beast." As Anderson wrote, "that was the end of the national identification card" during the Reagan years. H.R. 231 is proof that bad ideas never die in Washington; they just wait for another day.

Here's what the bill says:

Improved Security for Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards - (Sec. 202) Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting State issued driver's licenses or identification cards unless such documents are determined by the Secretary to meet minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features.

Sets forth minimum issuance standards for such documents that require: (1) verification of presented information; (2) evidence that the applicant is lawfully present in the United States; and (3) issuance of temporary driver's licenses or identification cards to persons temporarily present that are valid only for their period of authorized stay (or for one year where the period of stay is indefinite).

(Sec. 203) Requires States, as a condition of receiving grant funds or other financial assistance under this title, to participate in the interstate compact regarding the sharing of driver's license data (the Driver License Agreement).

(Sec. 204) Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit trafficking in actual as well as false authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification.

Requires the Secretary to enter into the appropriate aviation security screening database information regarding persons convicted of using false driver's licenses at airports.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to assist States in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.

(Sec. 206) Gives the Secretary all authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title. Gives the Secretary of Transportation all authority to certify compliance with such standards.

Authorizes the Secretary to grant States an extension of time to meet the minimum document requirements and issuance standards of this title, with adequate justification.

(Sec. 207) Repeals overlapping document provisions of the IRTPA.

(Sec. 208) States that nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the authorities and responsibilities of the Secretary of Transportation or the States under existing laws governing the establishment of a National Driver Register.

Posted by torque at May 11, 2005 1:02 PM | TrackBack
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