May 092007

by Michael Hampton of Homeland Stupidity 

The Department of Homeland Security will move forward with plans to implement the REAL ID Act despite widespread opposition from citizens and state legislatures.

But DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said Tuesday that even the states which have already passed laws or resolutions against the act would eventually come around and implement the national identification standards, because the citizens who now oppose it would start demanding it.A recent poll found that most Americans support a national ID, but only if it doesn’t contain biometric data such as fingerprints or retinal scans.

A broad coalition of groups from all across the political spectrum had come together to urge citizens to tell DHS to shove REAL ID, which they did in spades. The department said it had received over 12,000 comments during the 60-day comment period on its draft regulations which ended yesterday, and that the comments were mixed.

Comments at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday were more negative. The chairman, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, complained that security rules were supposed to be “smart as well as tough,” and predicted that state motor vehicle departments would not be able to cope with the requirements, which include verifying all documents presented by applicants. Even renewals will require birth certificates or other proof of legal residence. And the change will impose billions of dollars in costs on states and localities, Mr. Leahy and others said.

Mr. Leahy, who is a sponsor of a bipartisan bill to repeal the rules before they take effect, asserts that the department cannot even safeguard the personal information of its own employees. (Recently the department acknowledged that it had released the names and Social Security numbers of thousands of employees, including undercover sky marshals.)

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has a clock on its Web page counting down the time until the law’s requirements take effect (368 days as of Tuesday), Washington and Montana have enacted laws pledging not to comply. In Idaho, the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a budget specifying that expenditures for carrying out the law next year would be zero. Resolutions opposing the new licenses have been passed by one or both houses of the legislature, and in some cases signed by the governor, in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, North Dakota and Utah. – New York Times

States have until next May to begin to comply with the regulations, which of course haven’t been finalized yet, but they can file for an extension through December 31, 2009. Regardless, all driver licenses and ID cards must be compliant by May 10, 2013, according to the draft regulations.

The unmitigated gall of this bureaucrat. Not only does he say that states will come around and implement REAL ID, well, just listen to this guy.

“Understandably it’s going to create some burden in terms of cost for states,” he said. “But it’s righteous. And shame on us if we don’t take the steps now to address known vulnerabilities because the alternative is sitting back and hoping you get lucky.” – Washington Post

Righteous? The Third Reich was righteous, too. Or so said its leader.

DHS has previously said that the new system would not amount to a national ID (it will) and would not be an invasion of people’s privacy, (it will also) assertions that are absurd on their face and insulting to all Americans.

Of course, this isn’t really about terrorism at all, says the Wall Street Journal’s editors: “Real ID was always more about harassing Mexican illegals than stopping Islamic terrorists. . . . For unexplained reasons, immigration restrictionists are convinced that preventing illegal aliens from obtaining drivers licenses will result in fewer illegal aliens, rather than merely more unlicensed and uninsured motorists.”

That figures. “Illegal immigrants” come here to work, and DHS is determined to put them on the welfare rolls instead.

We need a national ID for this?