To take action and make your voice heard, submit comments against the fundamentally flawed national identification scheme. The draft regulations to implement the REAL ID Act are open for comment until 5:00 PM EST on May 8, 2007. The comments can be submitted in one of three ways:
Click here for sample comments you can print, sign and send in.
Organizations have launched a nationwide campaign to engage the public in the debate over what would be the first national identification document. These transpartisan, nonpartisan, privacy, consumer, civil liberty, civil rights, and immigrant organizations have joined in this unique public education project because the REAL ID proposal put forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would harm our lives in a multitude of ways every day. The proposed regulations set requirements that states must follow to have their state issued identification documents accepted for federal purposes, like getting on an airplane or entering a government building, including courthouses.
The power of the Department of Homeland Security, along with other federal government agencies, to reach into the everyday lives of people living in this country will be unprecedented.
This is the same federal agency that had responsibility for helping people following Hurricane Katrina, and proved itself not to be ready for the challenge. Creating a national identification system is a huge, complex project and there no agency in the Federal government that has proven that it could manage a project of this magnitude.
What we do know: You will make more than one trip to the motor vehicle office to apply for your REAL ID national identification card; the government has estimated that the scheme will cost taxpayers $21 billion; REAL ID requires documentation that most people will have difficulty finding; and the cost of driver's licenses and state ID cards will skyrocket. We do know that the federal government is considering expanding the REAL ID card to everyday use.
Click for more background...
Maybe you could avoid getting on a plane or going into a government building, but you cannot avoid all of the ways licenses and ID cards are used. A national identification system would be disastrous. It would affect every aspect of your life-- being able to operate a motor vehicle, cash a check, get a job, register to vote, purchase a home, rent an apartment, get a hunting or fishing license, or enroll in school.
The new requirements dictate state collection of personal data and documents without setting adequate security standards for the card, state motor vehicle facilities, or state motor vehicle databases. The government will create a national identification database by linking the databases of all 50 states and the data of 245 million state license and identification cardholders. REAL ID also increases the risk of counterfeiting and identity theft by creating one unifying ID card (with one design) to forge and one database full of sensitive personal information, with many entry points across the nation, to attack. DHS also divert funds needed for other state homeland security projects, such as equipment for rescue and first responder personnel by regulating that 20% of a state's Homeland Security Grant Program money can be spent on REAL ID implementation.
License and ID card applicants will need to submit certified birth certificate, immigration and citizenship documents, and a variety of other sensitive data in order to get a REAL ID card.
Another problem not addressed by the REAL ID law is the obligation of states receiving queries about source documents: birth certificates, court records, and adoption papers to respond in a timely and accurate way. This is a tremendous burden for states to undertake and presents an additional hidden cost of the REAL ID that has not yet been considered.
The Department of Homeland Security has the sole power to determine what is and is not acceptable because the law that created the REAL ID was never debated or allowed a public hearing to create checks on the agency's power.
The national identification scheme created by REAL ID is a disaster waiting to happen. We urge you to take action and submit comments against the fundamentally flawed national identification scheme.
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