May 11, 2005


Senate Backs Measure to Tighten ID Requirements (Darryl Fears, May 11, 2005, Washington Post)

The Real ID Act, which the Senate approved yesterday, would make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain identification that the federal government will recognize when they try to board an airplane, fill out tax forms or open a bank account. But the measure would affect U.S. citizens as well.

Americans would need an authentic copy of their birth certificate to apply for a new driver's license or renew an old one. The certificates must be verified at the counter by a Department of Motor Vehicles agent, along with other identification, such as Social Security numbers and utility bills. Governors, legislatures and officials in motor vehicle departments oppose the act, saying it would lead to agonizingly long lines at DMV offices.

States would not be required to comply with the legislation, which President Bush is expected to sign, but their residents would pay a price if they did not. They probably would be turned away when they tried to enter airport gates, unless they had other identification, such as a passport.

In addition to tightening restrictions on acquiring driver's licenses, Real ID also would create more obstacles for immigrants seeking asylum and give Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff unprecedented authority to supersede environmental laws in completing a three-mile stretch of fence at the Mexican border with San Diego. Critics of the measure say Chertoff may be able to exert that new authority at other border spots as well.

Apropos Mr. Blanley's piece earlier today, they just keep racking up impressive legislative victories.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 11, 2005 12:06 PM

Yes! And now about voting.

Posted by: Genecis at May 11, 2005 12:13 PM

Ditto for what Genecis said. Note Wisconsin, site of proven election fraud (see articles today) passed a photo id for voting bill but Dem governor vetoed it.

And this bill helps the GOP and Bush get a little credibility back with the get tough on illegal immigrants crowd without seeming to target a particular group.

Posted by: AWW at May 11, 2005 12:22 PM

And a birth certifcate assures the indentity of the bearer how? Reprint your foot and compare?

Posted by: Rick T. at May 11, 2005 1:14 PM


If one considers the fine details, it's obvious that this will do little to improve national security (in fact, one could make the argument that it will decrease it). It might well have an impact on illegal aliens, but I'm dubious about this reducing vote fraud, because, as noted, unless states require photo ID to vote, an improved photo ID is irrelevant. The whole effort is largely symbolic.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 11, 2005 1:32 PM

AOG - The GOP can't get the legislation it wants through the Senate whole, but it may be able to smuggle it through in bits and pieces. This is one part of a system for reducing vote fraud. It's hard to get rid of the Motor-Voter link between drivers licenses and voter registration, but if you tighten both together, you win.

Posted by: pj at May 11, 2005 1:43 PM

Force the Senate Democrats to filibuster legislation that requires a photo ID AND a current address to vote.

That would be something to see on cable TV. The judicial nomination stuff generally passes the average citizen by, but this would be different.

Larry O'Donnell will have a stroke, and I'll bet Bush's next nickname would be "Bull".

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 11, 2005 2:34 PM

Yes, of course it doesn't do much to improve national security. Neither does the first laid brick do much to wall off your yard.
But in both cases, it's a necessary first step.

It's also a symbolic step, to put everybody on notice that citizenship is a requirement for getting [some of the] benefits of being a citizen.

But MOST OF ALL, it's a sleight-of-hand means for starting to crack down on voter fraud. Everybody and his brother knows that the Democrats have been successfully doing massive voter fraud for decades. This will begin to tighten down on that. Never play poker with a cowboy named Bush. Or 3-card monte, either.

Posted by: ray at May 11, 2005 11:05 PM