Congressional conferees have reportedly agreed on an appropriations bill to fund military operations, and attached the controversial Real ID Act to the bill. The Real ID Act will therefore likely be enacted without being scrutinized by any hearings or debate. The American Civil Liberties Union today expressed its disappointment that the final measure includes this sweeping legislation that rolls back asylum laws, attacks immigrants and sets the stage for a national ID. The House is expected to vote on the underlying measure this week; the Senate is expected to vote next week.

The following can be attributed to Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“The Real ID Act was sold as an illegal-immigration fix bill, when in fact it reduces every American’s freedom. The provisions of this bill could not have passed on their own. Sadly, their inclusion in a `must pass’ bill means that immigrants and citizens alike will face an unnecessary loss of freedom and privacy.”

“The federalization of drivers’ licenses, and the culling of all information into massive databases, creates a system ripe for identity theft. New standards could place our most private information – including photographs, address and social security numbers – into the hands of identity thieves. Worse still, an independent commission is currently studying the issue of license security, and, if enacted, Real ID would undermine their efforts.”

“The Real ID Act would also unnecessarily harm immigrants. Some asylum seekers will be forced to produce written corroboration of their persecution from those who persecuted them. The act would also eliminate, in some cases, the right of habeas corpus as an avenue for court review for the first time since the Civil War. Such an overhaul of immigration laws shouldn’t be slipped into a funding bill for the military.” link

The ACLU has been joined in opposition to the Real ID act by a myriad of groups, including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the National Council of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

The act goes against international law and allows government officials to demand written “corroboration” from those seeking asylum. For instance, a Chinese woman seeking asylum after being forced to have an abortion could be required to obtain proof of her abuse from the doctors who performed the procedure.

Additionally, the Real ID Act would waive all state and federal laws to give the Department of Homeland Security unconditional authority to build barriers along the entire border — placing private property in the hands of federal agents for a “land grab” for national security purposes.

The act also takes us one step closer to a national ID, and a “show us your papers” society by forcing states to link their databases — containing every licensed driver’s personal information — with other states and with Canada and Mexico. The act includes no guidelines as to who will have access to that information.

“The Real ID Act would undermine the changes made to drivers’ licenses last year by the intelligence reform legislation,” said Timothy H. Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “Even now, an independent panel is examining the issue of drivers licenses. Their work would be in vain if Real ID passes. Congress must reject it.” link

I guess I could add a long list of other examples of what this will do to different people, but I think most of the folks on here are smart enough to figure that out.

I can’t remember who said it, but it is true that civil liberties once rescinded, do not return.

But, when all is said and done, it is hard to refute the argument that people who willingly throw them away  do not need them, nor should they have them.

Nor should they complain about the consequences, either of the loss, nor the manner by which they are regained by followers of the ‘other faith’.

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