Why should the Democrats oppose a seemingly simple bill to require licensed drivers be US citizens or have legal status in the US?
Maybe because it is anything but simple? All good Libertarians should be opposing this also, not just Democrats. I blogged on this a bit here, Real ID Act of 2005
, before the Act was officially introduced to the Senate (it was still in committee at the time).
My biggest beef with the Real ID Act is the increase of Federal power to fix a Federal problem at the burden and expense of the State.
In particular, the Feds will demand of the States:
(1) Employ technology to capture digital images of identity source documents so that the images can be retained in electronic storage in a transferable format.
(2) Retain paper copies of source documents for a minimum of 7 years or images of source documents presented for a minimum of 10 years.
(3) Subject each person applying for a driver's license or identification card to mandatory facial image capture.
(4) Establish an effective procedure to confirm or verify a renewing applicant's information.
(5) Confirm with the Social Security Administration a social security account number presented by a person using the full social security account number. In the event that a social security account number is already registered to or associated with another person to which any State has issued a driver's license or identification card, the State shall resolve the discrepancy and take appropriate action.
(6) Refuse to issue a driver's license or identification card to a person holding a driver's license issued by another State without confirmation that the person is terminating or has terminated the driver's license.
(7) Ensure the physical security of locations where drivers' licenses and identification cards are produced and the security of document materials and papers from which drivers' licenses and identification cards are produced.
(8) Subject all persons authorized to manufacture or produce drivers' licenses and identification cards to appropriate security clearance requirements.
(9) Establish fraudulent document recognition training programs for appropriate employees engaged in the issuance of drivers' licenses and identification cards.
(10) Limit the period of validity of all driver's licenses and identification cards that are not temporary to a period that does not exceed 8 years. Real ID Act
I have no real problems with numbers 1, 2, 3, or 10. I do have problems with the remaining demands on the States.
(4) This demand is too vague. Obviously, it is the Feds who get to define Ďeffective procedureí and therefore is subject to change based on the way the political wind is blowing. More importantly, the vagueness leaves this open clause to later interpretation that may include us being forced to submit biometric information such as fingerprints, retinal scans, or even DNA.
(5) Ok, tell me you donít have a problem with this one. I dare ya. The Feds want our full Social Security numbers tied to our driverís license.
There is absolutely no connection between my privilege to drive and my personal tax ID number. This is a disgusting seizure of Federal power. Further, this demands that the States resolve duplicate Social Security number submissions, at the expense of the State!
(6) Again, my problem with this is that the Feds are centralizing their authority at the expense of the States. I have little problem if States want to voluntarily share their driverís license databases with other states. I am upset when the Feds think they need to get their hands in this.
(7) More burden and expense put on the State at the Fedsí request. The way I read this is the Feds are essentially saying to the State, ĎHey States, I know we just set up this mammoth-sized new driverís license program. You guys are going to need to obtain a hell of a lot more info on your drivers than you used. On top of that, you need to keep all that info secure. And on your dime. But you still have to answer to us.Ē
(8) I donít even know what this means, so Iím against on principal.
(9) Even more burden and expense on the State. Why did the Republicans attach this bill to an $81 million funding bill for the war in Iraq? Why can't congress be required to adhere to a one bill-one vote rule, instead of being caught in an electoral quandary?
It was my yellow-bellied Senator, Johnny Isakson, who introduced the House version of the Real ID Act to the Senate. Shame on you, Senator. You are justifying why I did not vote for you.
I honestly canít figure out if this is cowardice on the part of the GOP or complete hubris for attaching this amendment to the emergency appropriations bill. As I told Senator Isakson in a recent letter, ďI realize we have an immigration problem in this country and this Act intends to curb that. It is a flawed, misguided solution, however. Our immigration problems are at the federal level. Please do not pass those problems off on the states because some of your fellow representatives in Washington are too scared/beholden to supporters/passive to deal with the issue federally.Ē
Federal problem. State funded solutions. Increased Federal authority. Typical.