A reader of my column on the Real ID Act responds, in part:
Anyone who cards me gets and extra big tip! (I am 63.)
I do not fear nor object to a national registry card any more than I fear my passport. If a national identity card will cause illegal aliens to quake in fear I say GOOD! If it will help or cause the INS to start rounding up illegals and exporting them, I say GOOD! I know it may cause the necessity of welfare recipients to have to go to work and maybe replace some of the good Mexican farm workers who have will be transshipped back home. What a shame that would be for lazy Americans to have to get off their fat butts and go to work. This would be akin to reverse outsourcing--what a concept!
Sparapani of the ACLU is quoted as saying "this is an important cultural moment," "the first true national ID card." Not so, passports have been around for a long time, these are national identity cards. What this may be culturally is the opportunity for the immigration laws to be effectively enforced.
I don't care if the ID cards cost $85 rather than $58, I want to be the first in Washington State to have one! Where do I sign up!
I replied, in part:
I think the ACLU guy's point was that it is the first internal national ID card for the general population.
The people at the forum said it wasn't designed for immigration control--but clearly it could be used for that. The cards will differentiate between 9 different categories of attachment to the country, including citizen, permanent resident (green card), conditional permanent resident, refugee or asylee, nonimmigrant visa holder, pending asylee, pending or approved application for temporary protected status (whatever that is), approved deferred status, or "pending application for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence or conditional permanent resident status." (From NCSL web page, here.) Of course now the police, banks, etc., are accepting a Mexican government ID (the matricula consular card) that is available to illegals.
The regulations for the Real ID won't be out until next spring. Then the states gear up. They told me Olympia will have a big PR/advertising campaign about the new licenses. Generally, they expect people to keep the old ones until expired, and the federal government is not supposed to demand the new ones until all the old ones have had a chance to turn over, which in this state is 5 years. The law requires the Washington program to be certified by Homeland Security by May 11, 2008, but it does not require us to all have those licenses by then.
Respond to Bruce.