Depending Where You Live, Renewing Your Drivers License May Be More Complicated Than It Has Been In The Past

A friend posted the following on Facebook:

I went with Howard to DMV this morning when he renewed his drivers license for the first time since the new government program went into effect. Since we had the required documents with us – certified birth certificate, passport, proof of social security, tax bill, and utility bill it was less of a hassle than I expected it to be. However, there were a few people ahead of us that were told that they didn’t have all the documents needed for a verified drivers license.

I was puzzled by this post and did some investigating. It seems that Connecticut has a new program for renewing driver’s licenses.

The Examiner posted an article on this change in March 2012, and the Connecticut Mirror posted and article about it in September 2011.

The Connecticut Mirror states:

Connecticut launched a campaign today to publicize how to obtain a driver’s license that meets the stricter verification standards of a federal “Real ID” law passed in 2005, but never implemented in face of objections from two dozen states.

Beginning Oct. 3, drivers in Connecticut will have two choices when renewing their licenses: accept a license stamped “not for federal identification,” or provide proof of residence and immigration status for an ID with a gold star.

The Examiner reports:

The Real ID Act, enacted in 2005 in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks, sets forth certain requirements for state driver’s licenses and identification cards in order for the cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official” purposes. The purposed federal program, expected to go into effect in 2017, would require verified state identification to enter government buildings, pass airport security even for domestic flights, and possibly other commercial transactions.

Connecticut rolled out its verified driver’s license and identification card program, called SelectCT ID, in October of last year. Connecticut will phase in the new verified driver’s licenses over the next six years as driver’s licenses are renewed. At least for the first renewal, Connecticut residents are given the choice of obtaining a verified driver’s license or a regular driver’s license. If a regular driver’s license is chosen, it will not be acceptable for official federal government purposes. As early as 2017, people without verified state identification may need to show a US passport for domestic air travel.

So let me get this straight. You don’t have to show an ID card to vote, but you have to bring all sorts of additional documentation to get a drivers license that will allow you to board an airplane as a passenger.

This is a total “Beam me up, Scotty” moment.

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Dangers In The New Immigration Bill

The immigration bill under discussion in Congress supports a program called eVerify that is supposed to allow employers to make sure that the people they are hiring are in America legally. That sounds like a great idea, but there are some serious problems with the system. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has put out a paper on the problems with eVerify. Although I agree with their premise that the program will have problems, I also believe that some form of the program will be necessary.

We are talking about letting millions of previously illegal immigrants enter the workplace and marketplace in America. We need a way of making sure that those people will be honest, hardworking people simply looking for a better life. We need to know about criminal activity, gang activity, prior legal problems, etc. We will need some sort of system to verify that our new citizens are who they say they are and that they want to be a positive part of America.

However, there are some serious problems with the law. On Thursday, CNN posted a story about how the immigration law as it stands would hurt Americans looking for jobs.

CNN reports:

Buried in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the Senate are obscure provisions that impose on Americans expansive national identification systems, tied to electronic verification schemes. Under the guise of “reform,” these trample fundamental rights and freedoms.

Requirements in Senate Bill 744 for mandatory worker IDs and electronic verification remove the right of citizens to take employment and “give” it back as a privilege only when proper proof is presented and the government agrees. Such systems are inimical to a free society and are costly to the economy and treasury.

Any citizen wanting to take a job would face the regulation that his or her digitized high-resolution passport or driver’s license photo be collected and stored centrally in a Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services database.

The pictures in the national database would then need to be matched against the job applicant’s government-issued “enhanced” ID card, using a Homeland Security-mandated facial-recognition “photo tool.” Only when those systems worked perfectly could the new hire take the job.

Again, some system is needed to make sure the person applying for a job is who he (or she) says he (she) is. However, this sounds more than a little intrusive to me.

The article further reports:

In short, S. 744 gets around states’ repeated rejections of national identification systems by lumping E-Verify and Real ID into overly comprehensive national identification (rather than immigration) “reform.” S. 744’s provisions also mandate collection of the details about almost every American, an enumeration task the Constitution authorizes only to the census every 10 years, and then only under a 72-year guarantee of confidentiality.

We need to ask ourselves, “Is a national identification system appropriate in a free society?” Meanwhile, S.744 does secure the border before legalizing millions of people we have allowed to be here illegally–where are our priorities?

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Isn’t Louisiana Part Of The United States ?

Business Report reported yesterday that Louisiana residents who travel in the future may be asked to show passports in order to travel in the rest of the United States.

The article reports:

Campbell (Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Stephen Campbell) spent all of last week in Washington, D.C., attending a conference and seeking answers pertaining to what could happen if Louisiana doesn’t get an extension to comply with the REAL ID Act, which is poised to take effect Jan. 14.

“We’re still hopeful that there will be an extension or some other compromise,” says Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport spokesman Jim Caldwell.

Louisiana will meet most standards of the REAL ID Act that the 9/11 Commission implemented, Campbell says. At issue is the addition of a gold star to Louisiana driver’s licenses to indicate the state is in compliance with federal law and that its residents have a nationally recognized identification number. Louisiana House Bill 715 makes it unlawful to fully implement the ID Act.

It is disturbing to me that the driver’s licenses issued by one state may not be recognized as valid identification in other states. To me it seems as if that goes against the whole concept of the United States.

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