The Bush administration strongly endorsed the "Real ID Act" today. I've
placed a copy of the "statement of administration policy" here:
The rule preparing the bill for a floor vote:
The floor debate's taking place right now. Turn on CSPAN1 or check out
H.R. 418: Bad For Gun Owners, Bad For America
National ID Cards Coming Up For A Vote This Week
-- Threats to gun owners' privacy are a huge concern
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
The National ID card is back in the news, as Congress is getting set
once again to debate the issue.
You will remember that late last year, Congress passed (and the
President signed) legislation which starts us down the road to a
National ID card. In the name of preventing alien terrorists from
operating in this country, the so-called Intelligence Reform bill gave
federal bureaucrats unprecedented new powers to force changes in
state-issued driver's licenses -- including, possibly, the addition of
computer chip technology that can facilitate the tracking of all
Now, the House will be debating new legislation, H.R. 418, that was
recently introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). In
considering this bill, the U.S. House will vote on whether to empower
the federal government to determine who can get a driver's license --
and under what conditions.
Since you need a driver's license to purchase a gun from a dealer,
this will give BATFE the expanded ability to impose even greater forms
of gun control -- something which it has long coveted. This will
become even more apparent if an anti-gun Democrat like Hillary Clinton
wins the presidency in 2008.
H.R. 418 is, unfortunately, supported by many Republicans who believe
that repealing our liberties will somehow make us "secure." But GOA
joined a large coalition of citizen-activist organizations this week
in opposition to H.R. 418. In a letter to Congress, the coalition
"Standardization of driver's licenses has long been recognized as a
bureaucratic back-door to implementation of a national ID card. With
its required linking of databases and ability of the Secretary of
Homeland Security to require a prescribed format, HR 418 takes us well
along that road. Concerns are further heightened when the bill fails
to even provide lip service to privacy concerns, and proposes to share
all of our data on the driver's license database with Canada and
Realizing government's tendency towards mission creep, no one should
be surprised if this database grows to contain far more information
than that which is relevant to driving. HR 418 requires that the
database shall contain "at a minimum," all information contained on
the driver's license as well as driving history. There is no limit to
what other information may eventually be contained in the database --
something which should definitely concern gun owners.
H.R. 418 is being touted as a way of cleaning up some of the problems
with the law that was enacted last December. But this bill is still
an attack on states' rights. It still takes us down the road to a
National ID card. And it would still do nothing to keep real
terrorists from operating in our country.
ACTION: Please contact your Representative and urge him or her to
oppose H.R. 418. You can use the pre-written message below and send
it as an e-mail by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center at
(where phone and fax numbers are also available).
H.R. 418 would give the federal government open-ended
authority to determine who may and may not get a driver's license
-- and under what circumstances.Since I need a driver's license to purchase a gun from
a dealer, BATFE would finally have its long-coveted tool to
impose gun control on targeted groups -- particularly under a liberal
If you believe in the Second Amendment, please vote
against this anti-gun monstrosity.
ACLU, Allies Oppose Sensenbrenner's Anti-Immigrant Bill;
Mean-Spirited Measure Would Hurt Persecuted, Undermine Privacy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Contact: Shin Inouye
WASHINGTON - In one of its first major actions this session, the House
of Representatives is debating today anti-immigrant legislation
introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI). The American Civil Liberties Union renewed its opposition to
the measure, H.R. 418 - the REAL ID Act -- joining a diverse coalition
of privacy, immigrants' rights and conservative organizations who have
"The House has made one of its first must-pass bills a measure that
would do little to enhance our security while severely undermining our
national commitment to freedom and liberty," said Timothy H. Edgar, an
ACLU Legislative Counsel. "This bill takes ideas rejected by Congress
last session and seeks to create significant hurdles to the persecuted
seeking safe haven here."
Specifically, the bill would make it easier to send asylum-seekers back
to the countries they are fleeing if they cannot provide written
"corroboration" of their claims, a move contrary to international law.
Federal law already gives officials ample discretion to deny improper
asylum claims, and asylum applicants are subject to much more extensive
scrutiny than virtually any other pool of non-citizens seeking entry to
the United States.
Opposition to the bill is diverse, coming from, among others, the
Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest and largest Irish-American
group; the American Conservative Union; the Free Congress Foundation;
the Republican Liberty Caucus; Episcopal Migration Ministries; the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops; Human Rights First; Amnesty
International and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Concerns have also been expressed by former Republican Congressman Bob
Barr and the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt,
who wrote in a Washington Times op-ed last November that the asylum
provision would "[force] Christians and others fleeing persecution to
provide written 'corroboration' from the very officials they are
fleeing." The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has also issued a report
denouncing the measure.
Judge Michael Chertoff, the Bush Administration's nominee to head the
Homeland Security Department, has previously protested such practices of
improperly demanding corroborating documents from repressive governments.
Sensenbrenner has also offered an amendment to make the bill appear to
offer something valuable to the persecuted, but actually makes the bill
worse, the ACLU said. The amendment would lift the artificially low cap
that leads to long delays for those who have been granted asylum to
obtain green cards, but it would also add additional restrictions and
asylum and court-stripping provisions that would take away the power of
the courts to review unlawful actions by the government in many
The court-stripping provisions are a direct attack on the Supreme
Court's decision in St. Cyr v. INS, a landmark immigrants rights case
brought by the ACLU that established the ability of immigrants who were
convicted of crimes many years earlier to have their "day in court"
despite restrictions on judicial review passed in 1996.
Another provision of the REAL ID Act would make it possible to deport
long-term, lawful, permanent residents for providing non-violent,
humanitarian support to organizations labeled "terrorist" by the
government. This provision would apply even when such support was
completely legal at the time it was provided.
The bill would also retroactively make legal donations to "terrorist"
groups grounds for deportation of green-card holders who have lived here
for decades. The Patriot Act already allows the government to deny
entry to non-citizens outside the country on this basis.
The REAL ID Act would also worsen the already troubling driver's license
provisions in the intelligence reform legislation passed last year by
forcing states to deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.
The use of state motor vehicle agencies as agents of the federal
immigration service would further the growing trend, alarming both
conservatives and progressives, of transforming drivers' licenses into
de facto national ID cards. It would also lead to an increase in
unlicensed drivers, undermining public safety and increasing insurance
rates for everyone. Motor vehicles employees lack training in federal
immigration law, and are likely instead to rely on ethnic profiling
based on notions of who "looks foreign."
The ACLU noted that in a recent interview with the conservative journal
Human Events, Sensenbrenner voiced his opposition to a national ID card.
"Sensenbrenner says he is opposed to a national ID card, and yet he's
laying the foundation for one," added Marvin J. Johnson, an ACLU
Legislative Counsel. "A national ID card would only serve to restrict
our freedoms and invade our privacy and do little to ensure our
security. Our privacy must not be swept away by Congress, especially
when there has been little discussion on the ramifications of such a move."
The ACLU's letter on REAL ID is online at:
A coalition letter to the House urging opposition to the REAL ID Act can
be read at:
The Ancient Order of Hibernians letter on REAL ID can be found at:
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows' letter is available at:
Legislative Media Liaison
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
tel: 202-675-2312 (Press Line)
Help protect your civil liberties - http://www.aclu.org
Two more warnings about House "Real ID" bill,
The Supreme Court has recently ruled (in the Hiibel
case) that the police can demand ID for no reason.
Not according to Prof. Eugene Volokh --
http://volokh.com/posts/1087843514.shtml -- who writes:
'Here are the questions not involved here: (1) May the police stop someone
without any suspicion, but just based on an articulable hunch, or a random
stop policy, to demand identification? (2) May the police require that the
person present some written identification? (3) May the police require
identification when the person is driving, or when the person is entering
a public building, or in similar contexts? (4) May the police simply ask a
person, without the threat of legal sanction, who he is? The answer to #4
is "yes"; the answer to #3 is generally yes, though it depends on the
context; the answers to #1 and #2 are still unknown.'
Prof Volokh, in the same post also phrases the legal question as "Once the
police stop a person based on reasonable suspicion that he may be involved
in criminal activity, may the police demand that he identify himself ...",
and reports that the answer is "Yes", so long as the request is (quoting
from the opinion), "reasonably related to the circumstances justifying the
We should be careful with the phrase "demand ID" as well. IANAL, but what
I've read regarding Hiibel indicates to me that when the demand for
identifying one's self is allowed under Hiibel (and it isn't universally
allowed), there isn't yet any requirement to authenticate that identity --
Hiibel doesn't require presentation of any ID card, i.e. an oral response
----- End forwarded message -----
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