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The REAL ID Act establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driver's licenses. It contains no limits on the government's power to impose additional standards. Indeed, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.
"Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary." Congressman Ron Paul
The report, "The Real ID Act: National Impact Analysis," does not say whether the cost of implementation will be passed on to drivers and holders of state identification cards. But Homeland Security officials said the price of similar new smart cards for 750,000 workers at ports and other transportation facilities will be about $140 each.
Section 102 of H.R. 418 would amend the current provision to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any law upon determining that a waiver is necessary for the expeditious construction of the border barriers. Additionally, it would prohibit judicial review of a waiver decision or action by the Secretary and bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages alleged to result from any such decision or action.
H.R. 1268 - Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
- This bill includes a section that was once the Real ID Act.
May 2008, a new driver's license and/or a National ID will be issued (beginning 3 years from date of enactment (signing) according the Act and will incorporate the following items.
* The person's full legal name.
* The person's date of birth.
* The person's gender.
* The person's driver's license or identification card number.
* A digital photograph of the person.
* The person's address of principle residence.
* The person's signature.
* Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.
* A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements.
Sec. 202.(a)(1)"IN GENERAL- Beginning 3 years after the date of the enactment of this division, a Federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a State to any person unless the State is meeting the requirements of this section." - source - "Real ID" begins on page 81
Now, "How does this affect me?", you might ask. If you read the Act, you will see a list of definitions used under Title II --Improved Security For Drivers' Licenses And Personal Identification Cards. The following definitions, as set forth by H.R. 1268 are of the most importance, because the give final authority and final discretion to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and they also leave it to the "final discretion" of the Secretary of Homeland Security to define "minimum data elements"
* Sec. 201 #3) - "The term official purpose includes but is not limited to accessing Federal facilities, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants, and any other purposes that the Secretary shall determine."
* Sec. 205.(a) - "Participation of Secretary of Transportation and States- All authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title shall be carried out by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and the States."
Minimum Document Requirements and Issuance Standards for Federal Recognition
* Sec. 202 (b)(9) - "A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements."
The issue of "defined minimum data elements" has been brought up on the Congressional floor as to what those "elements" could be.
"This legislation gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to expand required information on driver’s licenses, potentially including such biometric information as retina scans, finger prints, DNA information, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) radio tracking technology. Including such technology as RFID would mean that the federal government, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, would know where Americans are at all time of the day and night." - Hon. Ron Paul of Texas - source