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


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eagle Forum Seems Confused about Freedom and REAL ID

In 1998, the Eagle Forum posted Liberty vs. Totalitarianism, Clinton-Style: Monitoring by I.D. and Database. The article rightly said:
Two of the principal mechanisms by which the rulers of 20th century police states maintained their control over their people were the file and the internal passport....

Unknown to most Americans, coordinated plans are well underway to give the Federal Government the power to input personal information on all Americans onto a government database. The computer will record our school, business, medical, financial, and personal activities, and track our movements as we travel about the United States.

These plans were authorized by the so-called conservative Congress and are eagerly implemented and expanded by the Clinton Administration liberals.

The law orders "consultation" with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. AAMVA, a pseudo-private, quasi-government organization, has long urged using driver's licenses, with Social Security numbers and digital fingerprinting, as a de facto national I.D. card that would enable the government to track everyone's movements throughout North America.
That was 1998.

The striking--and confusing--point is that Phyllis Schlafly supports the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act may not contain all the measures the frightening legislation of 1998 had (REAL ID is "optional" to carry--optional, but required if you want to live and function in the U.S. Nor does it--as yet--require biometrics...), but REAL ID is very much the kind of scheme that was proposed in 1998!

1. REAL ID networks all 50 state databases into one. Technically, this is "not a national database." But networking makes such a technicality meaningless. It is one network government can access through a computer. To say this is not a national database is serious confusion.

2. REAL ID requires "machine readable technology." The REAL ID cards can be scanned anywhere, anytime by the government for identification purposes. Sound American? DHS Secretary Chertoff has said that REAL ID can be used for "countless other activities." Sound minimal?

3. REAL ID effectively turns the driver's license into an internal passport for flying, banking, working, and soon to be for "countless other activities."--as Mr. Chertoff has said.

4. REAL ID is a power-play where Washington forces states to do its job and bidding. Sound Constitutional?

In all of this, the Eagle Forum sounds really confusing. Phyllis Schlafly wrote in 2005:
The open-borders lobby is crying that the REAL ID Act would give us a national ID card, something that sounds un-American. The truth is that requiring the states to stop issuing driver's licenses to illegals is the best way to prevent the demand for a national ID card, which might prove irresistible if we suffer another terrorist attack on our own soil.
As stated above, REAL ID does a lot more than force us to stop giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. It sets up a massive system for future regulation. It is indeed a national id card.

1. REAL ID has requirements demanded by the NATIONAL government.

2. REAL ID is for the purpose of IDENTIFICATION.

3. REAL ID is on a CARD.

1+2+3= National ID Card. (Nobody has refuted this.)

Phyllis Schlafly essentially promotes in 2005 what Eagle Forum resisted in 1998.

There's not enough difference to resist one and support the other.

Let's fight terrorism.
Let's stop illegal immigration.

But lets not make a National ID Card to do it.
Let's not quit being America in order to save America.

And, conservatives, let's not quit being conservative.


Anonymous said...

Nationally, Eagle Forum was at first opposed to REAL ID and then moved to support it once the RFID was dropped (for now). However, each state chapter of Eagel Forum is free to pick how they feel about REAL ID on their own, and many (especially out west, such as Utah and Arizona) are adamantly opposed to REAL ID and have been key players in getting anti-REAL ID legislation passed. Why would there be such a flip flop, and disconnect, between the national group and its state affiliates? It is a POL-101 case of the difference between the premise of a law and the details. Those who are seduced by sound bite politics support the premise, and would have us vote on a premise (the law itself becomes secondary, and its details can be worked out or fixed later, which leads to a lot of cutting off ones nose to spites ones face).

The grassroots however cares more about the details than the internal PR bureacracy that can become a focus for a national group trying to gain members. The grassroots cares more about the issue, and takes the time to see the details and the whole picture.

Once the last handful of states that still do issue licenses to illegals goes away, and you take away that premise, REAL ID is toast.

AAMVA. said...

What is interesting about your post on Eagle Forum is that it mentions their opposition to AAMVA, the (North) American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

AAMVA's role in a national ID scheme has been somewhat lost in the shuffle with REAL ID. But whether most folks realize it or not, REAL ID is very similar to an AAMVA compact known as the Drivers License Agreemnt (DLA)(http://www.ncsl.org/programs/transportation/driverlicenseagree05.htm). In fact, the original version of REAL ID called for the states to join the DLA compact. This was stripped out because the DLA called for information sharing with other countries (chiefly Canada and Mexico?), and because it put AAMVA solely in charge of future technology decisions (think RFID). However, much of what was in the DLA just got rolled into the REAL ID final rules. AAMVAnet for example would be the database that holds everything, an expansion of the AAMVA CDLIS database.

This would be interesting, because AAMVA is just a 501c3 (and an international one at that, with Canadian and Mexican members). This is somewhat like our current passport scandal, where we were outsourcing control of passports production and criteria to folks outside of the US. It would likely not even be federal employees running the thing (and maybe even not all US citizens?). So in many respects, under the REAL ID final rules, we would be farming out much of our ID needs to AAMVA, losing control and sovereignty over them.

The fact that Eagle Forum was concerned about that then, but not as much now, shows how you can simply just change the name of a program and bring it back as something else with markedly different results.

John R. said...

Thanks, both, for the above comments.

Glad you stopped by.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Ms.Schafly should take a cue from Alaska on how immigration and REAL ID are two entirely different issues


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