April 25, 2007
Why Respond At All?
By James Wilson
Thirty states have enacted or are considering anti-REAL ID legislation. As we say in our Repeal the READ ID Act campaign, the REAL ID Act "is a bad law passed under false pretenses. It was rejected three separate times by the U.S. Senate, and was only passed because it was added to a larger bill containing disaster relief and funding for Iraq. The Senate didn't want it, and the American people don't want it either." Why is it a bad law that nobody wants? As puts it, the REAL ID Act "creates huge administrative burdens for state governments, while providing no federal funds for implementing its onerous requirements. At the same time, it does nothing to combat terrorism, and puts us at greater risk for invasions of privacy and identity theft." What is a Senator to say in the face of all this opposition? Here is how Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas responds:
Dear Mr. ____: Thank you for contacting me regarding the REAL ID Act of 2005. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue. The REAL ID Act of 2005 was introduced by Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) in an effort to bring attention to a number of immigration and border security issues which were not addressed in the national intelligence overhaul legislation, S. 2845, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in December 2004. Specifically, the REAL ID Act of 2005 would give judges broader discretion in evaluating individuals seeking asylum, expand the definition of terrorist-related illegal immigration, and give the Secretary of Homeland Security greater authority to curb the flow of illegal immigrants along the southern border. In addition, the bill would require all applicants for state-issued identification and driver's licenses to prove their lawful presence in the U.S., establish minimum standards to which all state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards must conform, and encourage the sharing of electronic driver's license data among states. The REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed by Congress as a part of H.R. 1268, the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, and was signed into law by President Bush on May 11, 2005. I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you. Sincerely, Kay Bailey Hutchison
Thank you, Sen. Hutchison. Next time, it would be good to tell us something we don't already know. Also, telling us specifically where you stand on REAL ID, and why, would be nice. A Senator shouldn't just respond to their constituents, she should be responsive.
Filed under Civil Liberties
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