Certain Senators, with the cooperation of Secretary Napolitano of the Homeland Security Department, are working up a new bill which would seriously undermine an existing federal law that restricts drivers licenses for federal purposes to American citizens and legal aliens, only. This proposed change is political, and it goes in a direction preferred by the ACLU – open borders, and minimum verification of voter legitimacy at the polls.
Most of the facts for this article, and some of the legal conclusions, come from an article published by the Center for Immigration Studies in June, 2000, entitled “Repealing REAL ID? Rolling Back Driver’s License Security.”The article discusses a bill being prepared by Democrat Senators on the Homeland Security Committee, with the support of Janet Napolitano, Secretary of that Department, to repeal and replace certain provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005.
Before getting into legalities, let’s put some facts on the table. More of the 20 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington got their original, falsified American drivers licenses in my state, North Carolina, than any other state. The reason why was quite simple. North Carolina would issue a license to any warm body who walked through the door and claimed as a residence an address in a vacant lot. The second part of the equation was that any other state would accept a NC license as a swap for that state’s license, no questions asked.
Since Americans use their state-issued drivers licenses as ID cards for many purposes, the terrorists were using common sense in their planning to murder Americans. From the reports of the proposed repeal of the REAL ID Act, neither the Democrat Senators nor Secretary Napolitano are using common sense in seeking to prevent future terrorists from murdering Americans.
The involvement of the ACLU is that it fought long and hard to stop the original Act. It was the opposition of those on the political left which caused the Act to give years for the states to tighten up their license-issuing standards. There was no suggestion that would-be terrorists were waiting for the US to get its drivers licenses straightened out before attacking again. The delays were for American political purposes. Now that the deadlines have passed, a number of states have objected to the law’s requirements that states use specified documents to establish that John Smith is who he says he is, lives where he says he does, and is an American citizen, or an alien with a legal right to be in the US, for a specified time. (Special licenses would be issued to legal aliens, expiring when their right to stay in the US expired.)
States would remain free, if they chose, to issue drivers licenses on their former, sloppy basis to whomever they chose. But those licenses had to look different, and could not be used for boarding planes, trains or busses, or other federal purposes such as applying for welfare. Nor could the sloppy licenses be used to swap for other states’ licenses. Lastly, for those who
could not get drivers licenses for whatever reason, all the same criteria would apply to official state IDs which states offer as an alternative.
Most states have indicated that they will comply with the REAL ID Act. A few states have objected to “federal interference in state matters,” and are trying to avoid obeying the law.
Why would certain politicians and even the Secretary of Homeland Security be supporting an amendment in an existing law to make it easier for terrorists to obtain the documents to let them move around the US freely and be better able to kill Americans?
Are these politicians more stupid than terrorists, that they do not know that a chain is as strong as its weakest link? That the sloppiest state will attract the most number of license applicants? Or, is some other factor at play here?
There are many politicians who oppose the idea that only American citizens should have American ID. They oppose it because it would tighten down the current open borders policy, and because it would make it easier for states to require photo ID of voters, so only Americans would vote in American elections (like the Georgia Voter ID law that was just left standing by the US Supreme Court).
It also so happens that assuring “secure ID for Americans” was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and the REAL ID Act was written with the assistance of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. But what do American security and practicality in issuing licenses mean, when weighed against political benefits to certain groups?
Apparently, not much.
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