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National ID Cards
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New Government Identification Card Horror

By James Donahue

It is called the Real ID Act, and like so many controversial and suppressive acts of legislation, it was secretly slipped into a complex bill in 2005 that provided emergency supplemental money for the war effort and the Tsunami Relief fund. Thus it was passed unnoticed by the media and many of the congressional watchdogs in Washington.

This terrible new law requires states to issue federally approved driver’s licenses or identification cards for all residents wishing to operate a motor vehicle, hold a job or even live in their state. The law places an extra burden on state residents and on state governments because the mandates are extreme and the cost, estimated to run in the millions for each state, is placed on the shoulders of the already financially strapped states.

The law was supposed to go into effect in 2008, but 25 states have rebelled and passed legislation opposing the act, demanding its repeal, or refusing to implement it into state law as written. Numerous other civic organizations, including the ACLU, have filed litigation in an effort to block implementation. Members claim is a federal identification card.

To date 13 states have complied with the Real ID Act. They are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

If all of the states eventually fall into lock step on this issue, it will be almost impossible for anyone to live in the United States without possessing a federal ID card. They not only will need the card to drive but to visit a federal government building, collect Social Security, use the services of a bank, board an airliner or utilize any public service under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Acquiring these licenses will not be easy. Everyone must provide legal, certified documentation that proves their name, date of birth, Social Security number, principal residence and that they are lawfully living in the United States.

Addresses cannot be post office boxes. This will be a problem for people seeking private residency and especially for the nation’s homeless. Without a card, these people will be unable to receive emergency hospital services or Medicare.

The law requires that photos on the cards be digital to they can be included in a national database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. The cards must also include features that prevent counterfeiting and identity theft.

As you might imagine, getting your next driver’s license renewal if you live in a state complying with the Real ID Act, is going to be nothing short of a nightmare. Plan to spend at least a day waiting in line, and trying to provide the "certified" documentation necessary to meet the demands of the act.

One unidentified 62-year-old Georgia woman recently posted her personal horror story describing her ordeal at the DMV, just getting her driver’s license renewed. She described it as "jumping through barbed wire hoops" and said it took her six weeks to actually get her new license.

She wrote: "I had to bring in my original . . . not a copy . . . birth certificate. It took some time to find that document. I also had to, because my last name, through marriage, is not the same as on my birth certificate, had to provide every single document of marriage, divorce, and any name changes." She said these all had to be original documents since copies were not accepted.

This woman also said she was required to produce a bank statement with proof of her address, a certified copy of the title to her home, and had to go to the local court house to get a certified copy of her latest property tax bill. She also had to produce her Social Security card and at least one utility bill sent to her home address.

"For me, it took three trips to the DMV, having documents not accepted because they said the federal law required "certified" copies of all documents. They then scanned every single document in and sent them to a central Federal Government Computer bank to do a Federal ID check on me, looking for any reason I should not get my driver’s license renewed. It took 15 minutes for the return approval to get my license. Then I was charged an extra $20 over and beyond the regular fee for the government to do an ID check on me."

This bill was among the last horrors imposed on us all by the old Bush Administration. Enjoy living in the land of the not-so-free anymore.