ACLU Urges DHS to Withdraw Real ID Regulations

May 7, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Calling the Real ID Act “unworkable and an intolerable threat to privacy and civil liberties,” the American Civil Liberties Union today filed comments asking the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw its proposed Real ID regulations and to join with the expanding list of states, organizations and individuals pushing Congress to overhaul the ill-conceived measure. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the issue tomorrow (May 8, 2007).

“This is a bad law, and DHS’ regulations won’t make it any better,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The ACLU national office and state affiliates have been campaigning against Real ID for more than two years, and the effort is beginning to pay off. Our efforts helped create a genuine rebellion against this law.”

“Real ID is a flimsy house of cards doomed to an inevitable collapse. The regulations do not–and cannot–fix its many problems,” said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Project.

Opposition to Real ID is reaching a fever pitch. Seven states enacted anti-Real ID legislation, while 25 more have introduced similar legislation.

Among those testifying at the hearings will be Allen Gilbert, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Vermont, who will address the problems the act presents for his state and the nation.

“Once the hearings are over, it’s time to move the Akaka-Sununu-Leahy-Tester bill that overhauls Real ID,” said Timothy Sparapani, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy understands the problem and we are optimistic that he will advance that bill.”

In its comments to DHS, the ACLU addressed four main problems with Real ID: privacy, constitutionality, individual rights and state sovereignty. The comments also address the supposed rationale for the act: increasing Americans’ security.

“DHS has a duty to protect the security of our nation,” the ACLU writes in its comments. “Imposing this ill-conceived federal mandate on every American is an abdication of that duty-one that will be discriminatory, expensive, burdensome, invasive, and ultimately counterproductive.”

The ACLU’s comments to DHS on the Real ID regulations, as well as other materials on the act, are at:

A map showing the progress of anti-Real ID legislation across the nation is at:

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