Action Alert: Oppose H.R. 418 (national ID)
Tragically, too much of the legislation enacted by Congress [is] in a
knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 . . . The Patriot Act took the first,
disastrous step toward fundamentally changing our way of life. Then
came the homeland security bill, followed by the 9/11 intelligence
reorganization bill. And now the Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) will
be voted on Thursday, February 10th.
What's wrong with H.R. 418 -- a bill we are told will stem the flow
of illegal aliens through our porous borders? For starters, it does
NOTHING to stem the flow of illegal aliens. Instead, H.R. 418 will:
1. Establish a national ID card.
2. Establish a federally-coordinated database of personal information
on American citizens with Canada and Mexico.
3. Use the new national ID to track American citizens when traveling
outside the U.S. -- and within the U.S.
4. Re-define "terrorism" in broad new terms that could include
members of firearms rights and pro-life groups or other such groups
as determined by whoever is in power at the time.
5. Authorize the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to
unilaterally expand the information included in driver's licenses,
including such biometric information as retina scans and DNA
information -- and even radio frequency identification (RFID)
tracking technology. Carry a driver?s license with RFID and
governmental officials will know your whereabouts 24/7.
Incredibly, H.R. 418 does nothing to solve the growing threat to
national security posed by people who are already in the U.S.
illegally. Instead, H.R. 418 states what we already know: that
certain people here illegally are "deportable." But it does nothing
to mandate deportation. H.R. 418 fails miserably on this most
The Real ID Act or Real National ID Act will impose a Soviet-style
internal passport on law-abiding American citizens. Proponents of
H.R. 418 say we must "make sacrifices" like this to control our
borders and fight illegal immigration. But H.R. 418 is a Trojan
horse -- it pretends to offer desperately needed border control in
order to stampede Americans into sacrificing what is uniquely
American: more of our constitutionally protected liberty. H.R. 418
does what al-Qaeda could never do without our help.
H.R. 418 does what legislation restricting firearm ownership does. It
punishes law-abiding citizens. Criminals will ignore it. H.R. 418
offers us a false sense of greater security at the cost of taking a
gigantic step toward making America a police state...
Urge your U.S. representative to vote "no" on H.R. 418.
Go here <http://capwiz.com/liberty/issues/alert/?
. . .
. . . or call the U.S. House switchboard to find your Rep. at (202)
House votes to make states verify license applicants (National ID)
AP | February 10, 2005
Hoping to keep drivers licenses out of the hands of terrorists, the
House voted Thursday make states verify that applicants are U.S.
citizens or legal immigrants.
Republicans pushed the measure through on a 261-161 vote despite
protests from governors and state motor vehicle departments that it
would be too costly and would require them to take on the role of
The bill also would make it easier for judges to deport immigrants
seeking political asylum if they think they might be terrorists.
"Common sense says we should not allow suspected terrorists to be
able to stay inside our borders if they could harm us," said House
Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The measure was rejected by Congress and the White House in December
as part of a bill reorganizing intelligence agencies in response to
flaws found after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks. It was
revived with newly won support from the Bush administration.
"Today there are over 350 valid drivers license designs issued by the
50 states. We all know it's very difficult for security officials at
airports to tell the real ID cards from the counterfeit ones," said
the bill's sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said the new features that states would have
to include on drivers licenses would prevent terrorists from using
them as IDs to board planes like the Sept. 11 hijackers did.
Governors, state legislators and motor vehicle departments have all
argued that requiring verification of background information such as
Social Security numbers and whether a person is in the United States
legally would be burdensome.
The National Governors Association and a group representing motor
vehicle department administrators said in a letter to House leaders
that the measure is a "massive unfunded mandate."
Immigration bill sparks furor among some House Republicans, gun
owners, and civil libertarians; Quietly breaking ranks
The Raw Story | February 10, 2005
Controversial new legislation billed as immigration reform has put
Congressional Republicans into disarray over a variety of reasons
ranging from Christian refugees to the National ID card, RAW STORY
According to senior House aides, who spoke only on condition of
anonymity, several factions of the Republican Party are up in arms
over the Republican authored H.R. 418 or Real ID Act, scheduled to go
to a floor vote today.
The key players, according the aides, are Chris Smith (R-NJ), Ron
Paul (R-Tex), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), chairman Sensenbrenner, and
a very conservative Republican Congressman with strong ties to
Falwell and Dobson.
Congressman Chris Smith, according to sources, is opposed to the
Asylum Provision of HR 418, which would affect Christians persecuted
in other countries seeking asylum in the United States. Smith did not
return repeated calls for comment.
Although Republicans are using terrorism as the motivation for strict
asylum provisions, the current asylum laws in no way applied to the
events of 9/11, since all of the terrorists involved were in the
United States legally and not as refugees.
One of the new provisions of HR 418 would require individuals seeking
refuge in the U.S. from repressive and/or abusive regimes to provide
documented proof of their persecution and/or abuse as well as the
abusing government's motivation.
"Can you imagine a Christian living in the Sudan going to ask the
government to provide the U.S. with `motivation' for persecuting
Christians?" one aide said. "What do you think would happen to that
How religious refugees will be affected by the asylum provision is a
sore point for Congressman Smith, two sources confirmed. Sources also
note Rep. Diaz-Balart's concerns about Cuban refugees being denied
safe harbor in the U.S.
Barrier Fence Provision
One section of the bill allows the Homeland Security Secretary to
waive all federal, state, and local law for the construction
of "barriers," and is viewed by some as in direct opposition to the
Primarily, the Secretary would have discretion to suspend
environmental, eminent domain and labor laws. The provision is
worded, however, in such a way as to not limit construction to the
external border of the country and actually includes roads
Such suspension of labor laws could affect child labor, standards of
compensation and safety, any and all compensation for the loss of
property, adverse environmental affects and any damages resulting
One aide described a real world example.
"Imagine an illegal immigrant, a child, working to build roads on
your property while spreading dioxin into the atmosphere," the aide
Sources on both sides of the aisle express great concern over this
One Democratic aide stated that "that moderate Republicans have
privately expressed concern over the possible loss of the Latino
vote, backlash from unions, and the concern that this in no way
strengthens the border, a sentiment shared by Congressman Paul with
regard to the National ID card."
Provisions Affecting Civil Rights
The bill lays out the groundwork for a National ID card/driver's
license program and how it is administered.
The National ID card provision does not follow the recommendations of
the 9/11 Commission and instead turns the DMV worker into an INS
On the surface, a centralized national database for past criminal
records such as DUIs is not an issue for most Republicans and
Democrats. What is of concern is the wording of the provision which
asks the state to at "minimum" provide confirmation of documents of
citizenship based on an assessment by a DMV employee.
The wording is such that it opens the door for the government to
require anything from gun ownership records to health records should
the state demand them.
This provision, Congressional aides say, does not in any way address
the issue of terrorism because the terrorists responsible for 9/11
were in the United States legally and had legal drivers' licenses.
Further, 9/11 terrorists were given passports from the U.S. embassy
in Saudi Arabia.
Republican Congressman Ron Paul is among those vehemently denouncing
the ID card.
"Very few people seem to see this as we do, as a precursor to
something very bad, a domestic passport, a national ID card to do the
business of life in America, to get a job, to travel," said Rep.
Paul's press secretary Jeff Deist. "It doesn't strengthen border
control; it doesn't add new agents or anything like that."
"I think most Republican members are going to vote for it. I don't
think are there are that many House members [who will vote against
Gun Owners of America agree with this concern.
"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," the group said in a
statement. "Since you need a driver's license to purchase a gun from
a dealer, this will give [the government] 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."
"Ron is very much against this bill," Deist added, echoing concerns
of gun owners. "We wouldn't characterize this as an immigration bill
at all; from our perspective it does nothing about immigration but
rather is a national ID bill. We liken it to gun laws that criminals
ignore but law abiding citizens obey."
Groups across the gamut of social and political persuasions express
concern over the Patriot Act II provision which gives the Secretary
of Homeland Security even more authority. The definition of what is a
terrorist and/or a terrorist organization is very broad and could
include protesters, political groups, and anyone the
government "labels" as a terrorist.
The law will also apply retroactively to activities that were legal
at the time, but later were labeled "terrorist."
One source gave the following real life example: "Imagine I donate to
a grassroots political party started by a group of average Americans.
My donation is legal and the group's activities are legal. Let's say
10 years from now this group is run by different people and those
people do something deemed to be "terrorism." I can be labeled a
terrorist because 10 years prior, I had donated to them, even though
it was legal at the time."
Some have stated that the only real reason for this type of law would
be to deter from any political dissent.
The American Civil Liberties Union is incredibly troubled by the
implications of the proposed legislation, deeming this act as an
annulment of the entire Bill of Rights.
Sources say that some of these `immigration' provisions are what held
up the intelligence reform bill which Rep. Sensenbrenner would not
bring to a vote late last year. In an attempt to mollify
Sensenbrenner, a promise was made that
HR 418 would be brought to the floor for a vote early in 2005.
One aide said a floor debate was scheduled between House Democrats
and House Republicans on the full HR 418 proposed legislation for
Thursday, but the Republican House leadership held an unannounced
closed door meeting on Wednesday to "bring" the dissenting
views "back in line."
Congressman Paul's office, however, says that this is not the case.
"I don't think there's much pressure. I think most members support
it," Deist said. "I don't get a sense at all there's an effort
[afoot] to twist people's arms on the Republican side."
National ID Cards Coming Up For A Vote This Week:
Threats to gun owners' privacy are a huge concern
Gun Owners of America | 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
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
http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm (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
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
If you believe in the Second Amendment, please vote against this anti-
Homeland chief to 'waive all laws'?
WorldNetDaily | February 10, 2005
Opposition to a homeland-security bill brought to the floor of
Congress yesterday largely has centered on fears it would lead to a
national ID, but some critics point to an overlooked section that
apparently gives the White House sweeping powers to suspend laws for
the purpose of protecting U.S. borders.
Section 102 of the REAL ID Act of 2005 seeks to expedite the building
of a three-mile fence at the border near San Diego to staunch the
flood of illegal aliens that travel through an area known
as "smuggler's gulch."
Environmental laws have been the project's chief roadblock, but the
bill's language appears to provide an unlimited scope,
reading, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary
of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall
waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion,
determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the
barriers and roads under this section."
Significantly, it also says courts are prohibited from reviewing the
A spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. -- a supporter of the
bill whose district includes the border area -- said he could not
comment on the scope of the measure's language. But he emphasized the
need to construct the barrier as soon as possible to shut down a
potential entry point by terrorists.
"There is an urgent priority to finish it," said Joe Kasper. "For
several years, we've been going back and forth with the California
Coastal Commission to finish up this border fence, with little
But Jim Harper, a former judiciary committee staffer who now serves
as director of information policy studies for the libertarian Cato
Institute in Washington, believes the way the bill is written does
not limit the secretary's powers to removing environmental
"Taking judicial review away is quite dramatic," he told WND. "The
secretary, under a strict reading, could waive any law and
conceivably detain people, wiretap -- the list would go on and on of
the laws that could be waived."
Harper said he objects to the bill being run through so quickly,
which limits participation in the process to only the most aggressive
players in Congress.
"It's really difficult to write legislation well," he said, "which is
the reason we have a slow, deliberative process. Here we are not
having that process, and the result is shoddily written legislation."
Kasper acknowledged the language is broad.
"But one thing we need to remember is, we are looking within the
limits of the secretary of Homeland Security, what he deems necessary
to finish fences and roads for the sake of national security," Kasper
To Americans who want assurance their civil liberties will not be
eroded, he said: "The real assurance is in the safety [the bill] will
provide, especially in relation to this border fence that will
[block] terrorists trying to penetrate our border."
The section of the proposed legislation reads:
SEC. 102. WAIVER OF LAWS NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF BARRIERS AT
Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and
shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole
discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction
of the barriers and roads under this section.
(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law
(statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction--
(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or
any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to
paragraph (1); or
(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any
other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or
The bill's chief sponsor, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., says the
main purpose is to "prevent another 9-11 attack by disrupting
Cosponsored with at least 115 House members, in addition to the
fence, it aims to reform elements of the system manipulated by
terrorists, requiring states to establish uniform rules for granting
temporary driver's licenses to foreign visitors and tightening asylum
Jeff Deist, spokesman for Rep. Ron Paul -- a Texas Republican who
regularly raises civil-liberties concerns during the formation of
security related policy -- said his staff is getting a first look at
the sections related to the fence, but "on face value, as written,
it's exceedingly broad."
"The ostensible purpose is to allow the Homeland Security secretary
to operate in that one area -- but 'all laws'? Would that include the
Posse Comitatus Act?" he asked, referring to the measure passed in
1878 that bars the Army, and now the Air Force also, from executing
laws except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or
Paul contends that despite Sensenbrenners' denials, the REAL ID Act
moves the country toward creation of a national ID card.
A group called Defenders of Wildlife said it believes that although
Sensenbrenner repeatedly has described H.R. 418 as limited only to
the San Diego project, it likely would enable the secretary to waive
all laws applying to the nearly 7,500 miles of border with Mexico and
Rodger Schlickeisen, president of the group, called the
section "extreme and unnecessary."
Hunter's spokesman Kasper said he could not address the question of
whether the law would apply beyond the San Diego area and referred
WND to the House Judiciary Committee. But a staffer for the committee
already had referred WND to Hunter's office for questions about that
part of the bill.