Real ID Regulations: Just Kicking the Can Down the Road

January 11, 2008 12:00 am

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Statement of Barry Steinhardt and Tim Sparapani
Director, ACLU Technology and Liberty Program and Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office, respectively

In its new REAL ID regulations, the Department of Homeland Security appears to have dumped the problems of the statute on future presidents like a rotting corpse left on the steps of the next administration – and not just the next one, but the administration of whoever is president in 2018. By the time this thing is supposed to go fully into effect, Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush may be fighting for the White House.

That just confirms it: Real ID needs to be repealed. It is not only a threat to Americans’ privacy but it is utterly unworkable. After 3½ years of efforts to implement this law, the tortured remains of the statute that appear to survive in these regulations stand as stark evidence of that fact.

We are still analyzing these regulations and the extent to which they address or evade the many specific problems with the original statute, and will be discussing our findings at 2:00 p.m. EST today.

But it is time for Congress to recognize the situation and take action. Rather than saddling the states and the American people with this misfortune of a law until 2018 and beyond, it should be repealed and replaced with a clean, simple, and vigorous new driver’s license security law that does not create a national ID.

For more information about why Real ID is a real nightmare, visit:

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