12 May 2005
Outrage of the Week: Senate Unanimously Passes the "Real ID" Act
By Shane Cory
In a 100-0 vote, the U.S. Senate passed the 2nd largest supplemental spending bill in the history of the nation. If that were not enough reason to question the common sense of our legislators, the Republican and Democrat leaders also passed the Real ID Act which was hidden within the spending bill.
With the passing of the bill, states will have to abide by federal standards for providing driver's licenses and I.D. cards to citizens. States will also have to link their citizen databases to federal systems in order obtain funding for the program.
Driver's licenses issued by states not fulfilling federal requirements will not be accepted by any federal agency. What does that matter? Here are a few scenarios that may occur if your state were to not fulfill the new federal obligations:
Flying to see a relative in another state? Don’t forget your papers: Domestic travelers could not pass through airport security checkpoints without a passport or a "Real" I.D. card.
Want to serve your country? Apply for a passport first: Prospective military enlistees could not meet identification requirements with only state issued identification.
Want to get a job? Not without federal documentation: The INS I-9 form is a required document for all U.S. workers. Section Two of the form requires identification to be examined by the employer. As no federal agency will accept "old" driver's licenses, your I.D. would no longer be valid. Be sure to bring your passport along to your next job interview.
Aside from the authoritarian restrictions that will be implemented within the next three years (the bill is to be fully implemented by May 2008 if signed by President George W. Bush), there are many other consequences of the bill.
The forthcoming database sharing will now put U.S. citizens in the same class as criminals. While the Social Security Administration tracks names and employment data, the federal government will now have access to at least your physical description, disabilities, and your photo. In the past, this level of detail was only offered to the federal government within criminal databases.
If you are comfortable with the above, please take the time today to send a "thank you" note to your Republican or Democrat senators. Be sure to let them know that you enjoy having your personal freedom and privacy stolen. Otherwise, choose to support the Libertarian Party, which will continue to follow principle and fight for your individual liberty.