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05/11/2005 Archived Entry: "Newspeak on national ID"

"H.R. 418 WILL NOT CREATE A NATIONAL ID CARD." H.R. 418 is aka the Real ID Act, aka our new national ID card. So you can bet I'm not the one who said the above. But boy, if you want to see an example of thinking that's either slimily dishonest or downright delusional, take a look at this:

There is absolutely nothing in H.R. 418 (REAL ID Act) that would create a national ID card.

H.R. 418 establishes minimum standards (including proof of legal presence) that must be met before states issue licenses or ID cards to residents IF and only if the states want their licenses and IDs to be accepted by Federal agencies as proof of identity. In other words, the states do not have to do anything at all if they are not concerned whether the Federal agencies will accept their documents as proof of ID to receive federally-funded welfare; board airplanes; enter federal buildings, etc. And, if the states do choose to comply, they will still set their own procedures for issuing licenses -- except for the minimum, common-sense standards set out in federal law and, they will still issue their own licenses.

Opponents of the bill have latched onto this provision and are seriously distorting it because, theoretically, at some unknown point in the future, it might be possible for Congress to decide to take over the issuance of licenses and make the driver's license into a national ID card. While this scenario is not impossible, it is reasonable to say with confidence that these groups are fighting the wrong bill. If Congress were to consider a bill that would actually turn licenses into national ID cards that bill would be the one to fight.

Additionally, enactment of the driver's license standards included in H.R. 418 will, in fact, make it LESS likely that Congress will see a need for a national ID card, so civil libertarians should be lined up in support of this bill. The simple fact is that a national ID card is only needed when other forms of identification documents are found to be unreliable whether it is because they can be easily counterfeited or because they are issued to people who shouldn't get them, like illegal aliens. The standards in H.R. 418 specifically address this point by requiring the implementation and use of security features on licenses and by requiring applicants to prove they are here in the U.S. legally and, finally, by requiring state officials to verify all of the documents presented by an applicant as proof of eligibility for a license. If driver's licenses become secure, there will be no legitimate need for a national ID card.

I've quoted the entire mindboggling text in full, so you don't really have to follow the link. But I included it anyway, just in case you thought I'd made all this up or gotten it from The Onion.

Posted by Claire @ 01:57 PM CST

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