ACLU: Senator Collins’ Real ID Amendment is Not a Real Solution; Proposal Fails to Address Law’s Fundamental Flaws

February 28, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today said that the proposal introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to delay the implementation of the Real ID Act by two years, fails to resolve the law’s fundamental privacy and civil liberties concerns.

"The Collins amendment will only delay the real nightmare of Real ID," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The states want Congress to act, not delay. The state of Maine overwhelmingly rejected the Real ID Act and Senator Collins’ amendment does not address her constituents’ fundamental concerns. Real ID is an unfunded mandate that fails to protect privacy and could lead to rampant identity theft."

The Collins proposal was offered as amendment to S. 4, the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. In addition to the delay in the act’s implementation, the Collins amendment would give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to give states partial credit for taking steps to implement portions of the act.

The Real ID Act federalizes the design, issuance and management of state driver’s licenses, creating a uniform identity card and database tantamount to the first national ID card. Under the act, residents of states that fail or refuse to comply will be unable to use their driver’s licenses for any activity that requires federally accepted identification, such as boarding airplanes or entering federal buildings.

In January, the state of Maine passed a resolution rejecting participation in the Real ID scheme. Similar legislation has been adopted by one state legislative chamber in Georgia, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. Bills rejecting Real ID have also been introduced in Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Washington and West Virginia.

"Extending the deadline of a flawed program is not the solution Americans need," said Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "States around the nation are moving to opt out of this program. The Collins amendment is not an acceptable solution to the changes that the law so desperately needs."

For more on the Real ID Act, including its status in various states, go to:

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