Plant Trees SF Events 2005 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021


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 
U.S. citizens.

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).

-----Pre-written letter-----
Dear Representative:
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 
anti-gun administration.

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Contact: Shin Inouye 
(202) 675-2312

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 
raised concerns.

"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 
deportation cases.

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:
Shin Inouye 
Legislative Media Liaison 
ACLU Washington Legislative Office 
tel: 202-675-2312 (Press Line) 
Help protect your civil liberties - 

  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 -- -- 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 
is sufficient.


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