Recently, I was made vaguely aware of something being billed as the “Real ID.” Having never heard of this form of personal identification it prompted me to undertake an investigative mission. What I found was truly disturbing which compelled the sharing of some information with all who will hear.
The issue is, unknown to most US Citizens, more than fifteen years ago, in 2005, then-President George Bush signed the Real ID Act into law. Once enacted by every state,taxpayersgovernment-issued this would make for the origination of a true national identification database. Enacting the changes necessary for each state in the country to comply with the stringent requirements mandated by the law would prove burdensome to state governments, tax payers, immigrants, and citizens alike; without a Real ID or government issued passport, it will not be possible to board a plane or enter a government building.
A most disturbing fact lies in the manner which this controversial law was even passed which was not inclusive of the standard democratic process. Reports confirm the bill was “slipped” through congress in May of 2005 as part of a “must-pass” Iraqi War/Tsunami auxiliary relief bill. This all materialized from an arrangement agreed upon by powerful Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R. Wis.) and the Congressional Leadership. Unlike what is considered the “standard” process for establishing a law, there was no time allowed for deliberation of the proposed Act nor was there ever a hearing in the Senate. Consequently, Real ID lacks the validity that comes with being presented, reviewed, scrutinized, debated, and voted upon by representatives elected of the American Citizens as our governmental system was justly designed.
Though this bill was covertly signed into law nearly twenty years ago, many states have consistently opposed the legislation and repeatedly petitioned Congress for extensions, filed suits in opposition, and embarked upon an array of costly (to American tax payers) actions to, at best, delay its implementation. Now, after nearly fifteen years of cat fights back and forth across the aisles of Congress, the law is much closer to its inevitable enforcement.
The Real ID will prove incredibly taxing (literally) on every state in the country as each independent governing body will be required to entirely revamp multiple extensive computer databases in attempt to comply with the federally mandated regulations. Every form of required identification submitted will have to be intensely sifted as each state would have the responsibility to verify the “issuance, validity, and completeness” of all certifying documentation including utility bills, birth certificates, and any form used to confirm an individual’s identity.
Another potential problem with the Real ID lies in the wake of a mandate that every state issue the federally compliant identification as opposed to the existing state-issued drivers’ licenses. For example, of Georgia residents above the age of 74, an estimated thirty-six percent do not have a license to operate a motor vehicle. This fact brings me to the realization of an equally disturbing concern; required multiple visits to the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV which would be plagued with the laborious task of processing individuals, requiring verification of mandated documents that may not be available. There are many legal immigrants who don’t have birth certificates, are in “an enumerated lawful immigration status through verified documentary evidence” and wouldn’t be able to prove their identity due to reliance on documents other than a government issued passport. In these cases, the Act would bar states from issuing a Real ID, thereby excluding otherwise “accepted” individuals and creating a web of suspicion by both law enforcement and other agencies demanding the Real ID.
Invariably, the Real ID will prove to be little more than a means by which the government can freely “keep tabs” on any individual in the country at will with unwitting Americans forced to foot the bill. Initially, the Department of Homeland Security (the organization leading the charge for implementation of the Real ID) estimated the cost of this process at around $23 billion which was in line with the estimates of two independent entities. Following much critique, the agency later submitted another estimated projection which reflected a cost of only $9.9 billion. However, a closer look at the cost table, on page 221 of the regulations, compared with the agency’s improbable assumptions suggested the Department of Homeland Security had massively understated the actual costs.
Oddly enough, this legislation was passed in 2005; more than six years before the fall of the World Trade Center which has been the single-most utilized reference to justify finances directed toward “national security.” It becomes more apparent the government is working to facilitate “control” of the country’s citizens as opposed to focusing on the citizens’ safety. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.