The "Real ID Act"


I received a comment from fellow waterman, someone I feel has his head screwed on in quite the right fashion IRT the WoT and individual preparedness. Plus I like the guy (even if he was in the Air Force *grin*). But Riverdog takes exception to my concerns regarding the “Real ID Act”. So I thought I would take another look at it.
First off, take a look at the whole thing.
On the face of it there are a number of things I can agree with:
1. A much tougher stance and review process on persons seeking asylum in this country. They will be required to produce physical evidence to back up their claim(s) of being a “refugee” if the reviewing “trier of fact” deems it necessary to validate said claims, beyond written or oral statements given by said refugee or their assembled witnesses present at said review. The bill also does away with having an established “minimum allotment” on the number of persons who enter this country under the auspices of asylum.
2. The physical closing of the borders (fences for example) will be allowed for without being impeded by any outside agency. In other words if building/finishing/repairing said fence or border obstruction endangers, for example, “The left large nutted tree frog”…well that is too bad, sorry folks this time the safety of human beings is going to take precedence over something further down on the food chain, and there is not a damn thing y’all can do about it.
3. The need to improve the “ground security surveillance” and “communication and information sharing with border security forces”. This can’t be anything but a good thing, unless you happen to be someone trying to enter the country in other than a legal manner.
So, yes, there are some good points to this bill. And I agree with Riverdog, that we need to address both the concerns about terrorists gaining access to our country and the immigration problem in general. But here is what is also in the bill, and what sends off little warning bells.

TITLE II–IMPROVED SECURITY FOR DRIVERS’ LICENSES AND PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION CARDS
SEC. 201. DEFINITIONS.
In this title, the following definitions apply:
(1) DRIVER’S LICENSE.–The term “driver’s license” means a
motor vehicle operator’s license, as defined in section 30301 of title 49,
United States Code.
(2) IDENTIFICATION CARD.–The term “identification card”
means a personal identification card, as defined in section 1028(d) of
title 18, United States Code, issued by a State.
(3) SECRETARY.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of
Homeland Security.
(4) STATE.–The term “State” means a State of the United States, the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American
Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific
Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States.
SEC. 202. MINIMUM DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS AND ISSUANCE STANDARDS FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION.
(a) MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR FEDERAL USE.
(1) IN GENERAL.–Beginning 3 years after the date of the
enactment of this Act, a Federal agency may not accept, for any
official purpose, a driver’s license or identification card issued by a
State to any person unless the State is meeting the requirements of
this section.
(2) STATE CERTIFICATIONS.–The Secretary shall determine whether
a State is meeting the requirements of this section based on
certifications made by the State to the Secretary of Transportation.
Such certifications shall be made at such times and in such manner as
the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of
Homeland Security, may prescribe by regulation.
(b) MINIMUM DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS.–To meet the requirements of
this section, a State shall include, at a minimum, the following information
and features on each driver’s license and identification card issued to a
person by the State:
(1) The person’s full legal name.
(2) The person’s date of birth.
(3) The person’s gender.
(4) The person’s driver’s license or identification card number.
(5) A digital photograph of the person.
(6) The person’s address of principle residence.
(7) The person’s signature.
(8) Physical security features designed to prevent tampering,
counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.
(9) A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum
data elements.
(c) MINIMUM ISSUANCE STANDARDS.–
(1) IN GENERAL.–To meet the requirements of this section, a State
shall require, at a minimum, presentation and verification of the following
information before issuing a driver’s license or identification card to a
person:
(A) A photo identity document, except that a non-photo identity
document is acceptable if it includes both the person’s full legal name
and date of birth.
(B) Documentation showing the person’s date of birth.
(C) Proof of the person’s social security account number or
verification that the person is not eligible for a social security account
number.
(D) Documentation showing the person’s name and address of
principal residence.
H.R. 418

In brief this means there will be standardization of all state issued drivers licenses or identification cards. Ok, nothing wrong with this. There are those who deal with electronic security (and even those in the security world in general) that feel there would be an increased risk of forgery if all licenses and ID’s were given a standardized method (or methods) of forgery prevention. I would argue this is a moot point as to any form, ID, or currency, which has been made by man, will eventually be able to be forged. Witness what happened after the “new” twenty and fifty dollar bills came out.

(a) IN GENERAL.–To be eligible to receive any grant or other type of financial assistance made available under this title, a State shall participate in
the interstate compact regarding sharing of driver license data, known as the “Driver License Agreement”, in order to provide electronic access by a State to information contained in the motor vehicle databases of all other States.
(b) REQUIREMENTS FOR INFORMATION.–A State motor vehicle database shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:
(1) All data fields printed on drivers’ licenses and identification cards
issued by the State.
(2) Motor vehicle drivers’ histories, including motor vehicle violations,
suspensions, and points on licenses.
SEC. 205. GRANTS TO STATES.
(a) IN GENERAL.–The Secretary may make grants to a State to assist the State in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.
(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.–There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009 such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.
SEC. 206. AUTHORITY.
(a) PARTICIPATION OF SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION AND STATES.–All authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title shall be carried out by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and the States.
(b) COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARDS.–All authority to certify compliance with standards under this title shall be carried out by the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the States.

Look again at the first couple of sentences in the above blockquote. Yes, each State shall have their own licenses and ID’s. But there will be (as mentioned earlier) set federal guidelines, and to enforce the states into compliance federal monies will be withheld (as mentioned in the quote above). This isn’t the first time the feds have used this trick (the imposition of a “federally mandated speed limit comes to mind), and won’t be the last.
But looking a little closer here…all the information on said cards, will be (at some point in time) on networked databases, so the federal government will have, in effect, a national data base. It could be argued the government already has this on hand. And that is true to some extent. We all have “files” residing somewhere, starting when we enter the school system (“And that detention is going on your record young man!”), if you have ever served in any branch of the service, have a social security card, applied for a security clearance, and so on. But understand this, the government will now have, in one place, a file on each and everyone of us….ok, at least those of us who chose to drive, or by extension, fly, or conduct any kind of transaction which requires you to produce either a drivers license or picture ID(issued by the state).
In a perfect world ™ this wouldn’t be a concern. We could rest assured our rights and guarantees under the constitution would not ever be infringed upon or usurped as a means to an end, regardless how great and good that end might be. Sadly, we do not live in that world. And whether it be through unintentional bungling by the politicians, bureaucrats, or general powers that be, or the purposeful attempt(s) of any power hungry group or individual who is in power to act against the population – “We The People”- is one major step closer to becoming a real possibility.
So, yes my friend, I do have a concern about this. And knowing you have dealt in your life with the government (all military paperwork…gotta love it *grin*), as have I. And having read your posts and comments about SHTF potentials out there, I am surprised this doesn’t concern you as well. Yes, we need to tighten up the borders (and there are parts of this bill which address this). And yes, we need to prevent illegals and those who seek to bring harm to this country, the ability to have “identification” which allows for them to have greater assimilation into the mainstream (but mark my words these cards will be able to be forged too), but this ain’t the way.

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5 Comments

Filed under Politics

5 responses to “The "Real ID Act"

  1. Seems like comparatively small cost for a lot of benefit. I could be wrong, won’t be the first nor the last time. lol Also, there seems to be a benefit not mentioned hiding in there… this could pave the way to requiring ID be shown at the polls. I’m all for reduction of voter fraud.
    You have an alternate idea for this?

  2. Guy S

    Again, if there wasn’t the risk of abuse by the collective “powers that be” I would have no problem with this. As far as it being used for voter ID at the polls….They should be using a picture ID right now in my opinion, so whether it is the current state drivers license (assuming it has a picutre) or the upcoming one, yeah it could work.

  3. I wish we could go back to a time when things like the Patriot Act and Real ID weren’t necessary. But we can’t. And if you look at this realistically, we already have to use some form of identification for almost everything we do, and that’s usually a driver’s license. All Real ID does is make sure that driver’s licenses meet certain standards to be considered valid. Doesn’t sound so bad.

  4. Once again, thanks for the polite discourse.
    Two points.
    The “federal Database” already exists. With the click of a key on a Mobile Data Terminal keyboard, through several Federally-maintained networks such as NCIC (or NCIC2) or NLETS, and dozens of local networks, any authorized state or Federal employee may read all that driver license information. They may also, with a little more authorization, look up any arrest record that you have, as well as your real-property transactions and all DMV records (to include boats).
    Some states now make all this public, where for a small fee, it is available to anyone. A few years ago in OR, you could buy a CD-ROM with every registered boat owner on it for $250. Most of the serious boat thieves bought one.
    Then there are the data-miners, such as MelissaData and others. These folks find databases that they can access without stepping on any legal toes, and then they compile lists and sell them to whoever has the price.
    We have already gone over the cliff on privacy. We can pass all the laws we want, or stop the passage of more data-access laws, and we won’t change a thing.
    What is going to count in the future, some day when the sun don’t shine, is whether you can put on your cammies, take your battle rifle, and go out in the world and do some good to resurrect a society where it can’t happen again.

  5. Riverdog,
    To touch on the last part of your comment…wasn’t that very thing addressed by one of the founding fathers, when he said the tree of liberty needs to be pruned from time to time. I am beginning to think pruning time if not already here is fast approaching.
    As to it never happening again…I would like to believe that, but looking at human nature, even after the gardeners work is done…it will be all too short a time err it needs pruning again.

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