Apr 262005

Big Brother is about to arrive. The Real I.D. act is about to get passed as part of a supplemental defense spending bill. The house insisted on its inclusion in the conference Bill, and despite the fact that the Senate has never voted on the Real I.D. Democrats seem to concede that it will pass as part of this provision. Oh, and it also allows the Department of Homeland Security to "Suspend Laws" in border states. (Does the word Facism ring any bells with you?)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, said his party will not be able to stop them.

"They did it on purpose," he told reporters yesterday. "They put it on a supplemental which they knew you couldn’t stop. I’ve had a senator come to me and say, ‘We’re going to filibuster this.’ I said, ‘Get real. It’s not going to happen. It’s a defense bill.’ "

The provisions passed the House in February as the Real I.D. Act, 261-161, and were then rolled into the emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The same provisions were originally in the intelligence overhaul bill that passed the House last year, but Senate negotiators balked at including them in the final intelligence bill.

Under Real I.D.’s provisions, the secretary of Department of Homeland Security could waive laws in border areas, allowing completion of a section of border fence near San Diego; judges would have more discretion in deciding asylum petitions; and the categories of those who can be deported for association with terrorist groups would be expanded.

But the most wide-ranging provision would set standards for government-issued IDs. The standards would include ensuring the holder is legally present in the United States. The 10 states that don’t meet those standards would not be forced to change, but residents could not use their IDs for federal purposes such as boarding an airplane.

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