- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

The Real Id Act of 2005

By:   •  Research Paper  •  901 Words  •  March 16, 2010  •  746 Views

Page 1 of 4

The Real Id Act of 2005

The Real ID Act, which requires states to issue federally approved driver’s licenses or identification cards to those who live and work in the United States, was passed by Congress on May 11, 2005. Since the act has been passed, critics argue that the law fails to improve national security, and leaves citizens vulnerable to identity theft. The question, “Is America at risk?”, is raised by many.

Kirkpatrick & Wald (2005) begins to explain the Real ID Act. The article states that the new regulations involved with issuing driver’s licenses, will require each state to check the citizenship, or immigration status, of each applicant. These laws would also require that the licenses of legal temporary residents expire when their visas do, applying to renewal applicants as well. In essence, this will force state Departments of Motor Vehicles to monitor immigration status, and enforce federal immigration laws. (“The REAL ID Act of 2005”, 2005) states that, “This is problematic on many levels, especially since immigration law is even more complicated and complex than the tax code. The Departments of Motor Vehicles’ staffs are not immigration law experts, and a lack of training and understanding undoubtedly leads to the denial of drivers’ licenses to United States citizens and other lawful immigrants”.

Applicants must also provide proof of an address and proof of a Social Security number. Addresses cannot be P.O. boxes. This will predictably cause problems for people who may fear for their personal safety, including judges, police officers or domestic


violence victims. Ramasastry (2005) argues that, “There needs to be a procedure to ensure these persons’ safety”, the Real ID Act has none. The state must save copies of any documents shown and store a digital image of the face of each applicant. The licenses issued would include the driver’s name, sex, address, license or other id number, and a digital photograph.

With the nations security in mind many critics argue that the new ID Cards are also extremely vulnerable to identity theft. Timothy D. Sparapani, the chief lobbyist on privacy issues for the A.C.L.U., believes that the standardized license would amount to a national identification card, which would cause an “identity-theft disaster”. With the data accessible in a single database, information would be easy for a criminal to obtain. There have also been predictions that radio frequency identification (RFID) tags will be placed in the cards. “RFID tags emit radio frequency signals. Significantly, those signals would allow the government to track the movement of our cards and us” Ramasastry (2005). Private businesses may also be able to use remote scanners to read RFID tags, and save them to their collection of files they may already be compiling.

Another argument as to why these new rules may put America at risk is that they impose verification procedures, that would be difficult for even the federal government to meet. A letter wrote by a bipartisan group of senators, (The Republicans John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Democrats Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois), to the Senate majority leader Bill Frist, states that “By repealing a provision enacting a central recommendation of the 9/11 commission, in favor of unworkably rigid federal mandates…it would jeopardize an


initiative that can make

Continue for 3 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay The Real Id Act of 2005
Download as (for upgraded members)