Washington DC - Fifteen months before the REAL ID Act is scheduled to be fully implemented, a handful of state DMVs, together with fringe groups on the far left and far right, are mounting an all-out offensive to repeal the measure. The REAL ID Act requires that driver's licenses and other government issued identity documents meet certain security standards to ensure that they are not abused by terrorists and other criminals.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 in response to the significant risk that terrorists could obtain driver's licenses and other official identity documents. Several of the 9/11 terrorists were able to obtain valid driver's licenses in spite of the fact that their visas had expired. The 9/11 Commission cited easy access to driver's licenses and other identity documents as a critical component to the terrorists' plot against the United States.
"The threat that we face in 2007 is every bit as real and ominous as it was when the REAL ID Act was passed," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "The need to determine with a high degree of certainty to whom we are issuing government identity documents, and the ability to verify the authenticity of those documents, is vital to our national security. Homeland security must not be held captive by a handful of DMV administrators who can't get their act together, or by a few alarmists at either end of the political spectrum."
In addition to addressing homeland security concerns, full implementation of REAL ID is critical for other domestic priorities, including combating mass illegal immigration and identity theft. As the de facto identity document used in this country, illegal aliens covet driver's licenses as a way of making themselves invisible to immigration authorities.
"By lopsided majorities, the American public believes that their vital identity documents must be made more secure. About the only people who would be harmed by the REAL ID Act are terrorists, identity thieves, people who are in the country illegally, and a small number of bureaucrats who run state motor vehicle departments," Stein observed.
"If we cannot substantiate the identities of the people who are receiving or using government-issued IDs, then what is the point of having them?" Stein asked. "Nothing in the law requires Americans to surrender more private information to the government. REAL ID merely requires that people prove that they are who they say they are, and that they have a right to be here in the first place, which is precisely what the law intended," Stein concluded.
What is everyone's view on this?