DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The REAL ID Act: An Update

Jim Harper wrote An Update on the REAL ID Act for the Cato Institute, October 8th.
In just seven short months, states will begin issuing drivers' licenses and identification cards in accordance with federal standards, and they'll begin making their databases of driver information available nationwide. At least, that's how the REAL ID Act would have it.

In fact, it's unlikely that a single state will comply with this national ID law — a whopping unfunded surveillance mandate passed hastily by Congress in May 2005. The Department of Homeland Security asked states to commit to REAL ID or ask for an extension by October 1st, so now is a good time to review where things are with REAL ID, and perhaps see where they're going.

Harper goes on to chronicle the troubled origins and history of the REAL ID Act.

He made an interesting observation by saying:
With a significant number of states committed not to implement the national ID plan, the Congress unwilling to prop it up or fund it, and the DHS yet to issue final regulations, REAL ID is mostly dead. But government contractors and state bureaucrats are still working to build this national ID system, going so far as to train up for REAL ID advocacy using taxpayer funds. At a recent REAL ID conclave in Washington, D.C., DMV bureaucrats sat through panels with titles like, "Bringing Your Public Onboard . . . ."
Americans who treasure the concept of limited government and individual freedom should not "get on board" with REAL ID. We should seek to keep our driver's licenses as driver's licenses--not work licenses, banking licenses, touring-the-Capitol licenses, flying licenses, etc.

If we're not careful, these cards may become Go-to-the-Doctor licenses or Walk-Around-Town licenses... (If the government takes over health-care, just what else would it use to "identify" an eligible patient? Also, the Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that police can ask anyone who they are and what they are doing--and the individual must comply... just for being in public.... This was a change in our tradition of freedom.)

I believe we can be creative enough and vigilant enough to fight terror and deal with illegal immigration without abandoning the concepts of freedom.

Read Harper's article here.

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