The radical left has chosen a new target, one on their radar screens for a while, the REAL ID Act. The Act, which besides regulating the materials and appearance of State issued identification cards and driver's licenses, also regulates who may obtain those IDs. Many States have failed to adhere to the requirements of the program, many for ostensibly libertarian or States Rights principles. But the left is on the warpath against the Act because it interfers with the ability of illegal aliens to live, work and receive welfare in the U.S.
Of course they don't always cop to that motivation, they usually find some sob-story and use that.
USA Today November 22, 2011Strict federal rules aimed at keeping terrorists off planes are blocking some Americans from renewing their driver's licenses or getting other state-issued IDs.
The consequences can be staggering. Without an ID, people cannot change jobs, drive legally, collect Social Security or Medicare, get through airport security or open a bank account.
It's "a persistent problem across the country," says Chris Calabrese at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The problems stem from the Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2006 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when terrorists used easily obtained driver's licenses to carry out their plans.
The law says that by 2013, only IDs from states that require applicants to present proof of citizenship or legal residency will be accepted to board an airplane or enter a federal building. In most states that have begun to comply, that proof means a birth certificate or immigration papers.
The ACLU and others predicted that the law's documentation requirements would be a burden to many Americans, and the issue becomes more pressing as the deadline nears. Sometimes birth certificates are incomplete, inaccurate, missing or were never recorded.
When corrections officer Charles Lust, 46, of West Palm Beach, Fla., tried to renew his driver's license in February 2010, he was shocked to discover his birth certificate said his name was Bell. A court, establishing paternity when he was 14, changed his name from Lust, his mother's name, to Bell, his father's name.
After his license expired, he couldn't open a bank account, cash a check or change jobs. He had to make special arrangements to pick up his kids from school because the school requires ID.
Bonnie Cohen, a paralegal at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County who helped Lust, says her office has handled more than a dozen similar cases this year, most of them elderly minorities born in rural parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Their records were lost or damaged in natural disasters, birth certificates were never issued or they were issued with errors, and some people were raised under a different name than what's on the birth certificate.
While the stories about elderly people with ID problems are probably true, the problem appears to be small and easily overcome. Any person over the age of 65, the retirement age, already has satisfactorily proved to the Social Security Administration their identity. But in any event, records destroyed in natural disasters can be recreated by administrative action or the order of a local court in most States. But reading the story closely, one sees that while some had difficulties obtaining identification, in the end, all got the identification they needed.
And in the case of Lust, the whole story makes no sense. He was hired for a law enforcement position by a State or locality. He has government issued credentials and passed fingerprinting and a background check. Didn't he present a birth certificate as part of that. Something stinks there. But in any event, the problem was solved. And as time progresses the number of persons without identification will decrease. The only likely significant number of persons without identification will be the homeless mentally ill.
But back to the Act. It was, as usual, badly crafted and not solving the problem of aliens and fraudulently obtained identification.
First, the law could have been better written. The problem were aliens obtaining State identification, much of it with fraudulent information. A simpler course, and more Constitutionally based, would have been for Congress to prohibit the issuing of identification by States or their political subdivision to any alien other than an alien lawfully admitted or paroled and authorized employment in the U.S. No alien not authorized employment needs any identification other than their treaty compliant passport. This is especially important for making it more difficult for aliens admitted legally, but overstaying their period of admission. Temporary visitors such as tourists or business visitors do not need State issued identification or driver's licenses. Only those here in catagories that include employment authorization need such things as driver's licenses. Another obvious restriction would be that no alien may be issued identification for a period longer than that of their admission to the United States. Another part of the law would be making it a criminal offense for a State to violate the law, especially for supervisors, managers, and State Constitutional officers to order any subordinate to violate the law. Also needed is a prohibition on aliens possessing State issued identification. What must be stopped is States using identification to create their own process to assist illegl aliens to remain in the U.S. such as some States do; Washington, New Mexico, and Utah.
There would be no other burdensome requirements on the States other than they not issue any identification to aliens without verifying with the Federal government the lawful presence and employment authorization of the alien applying for a State document. That is currently a quickly completed review of computerized databases and presents no burden to the State issuing authority.
But instead the Republicans in Congress created a Rube Goldberg scheme that is costing States billions and still not prohibiting illegal aliens from obtaining State issued identification. So, it is time to repeal REAL ID, but replace it with much simpler and Constitutional legislation.