First, the current debate in the state's legislature ignores the reality of this new application process - tacking a new requirement specifying English only testing ignores the coming change which requires full documentation and verification of said documents from all residents before a license can be issued. Once these new national IDs are in place, an illegal immigrant simply could not obtain one. So the claim the measure is an aide to immigration reform is just false.
More important is how it can be paid for -- as noted in a Tennessean story Friday, the government has decided to delay the change until 2009 instead of the planned May 2008 timetable. However delays are not the goal of the majority of the states and majority of state and economic leaders nationwide who want the measure repealed.
I've mentioned all the problems with this new ID previously. That report also notes that Senator Alexander voted to install this new ID plan and against providing funding to states to pay for the changes necessary in each state. However, in his comment from the Tennessean story, says:
"Alexander blasted Real ID as 'legislation that would require states to turn more than 190 million driver's licenses into de facto national identification cards'."
Then why did the Senator vote in favor of the ID?
He is right though - as was Congressman Duncan, who originally voted against and not for this national ID.
You won't be able to use a bank, or other services, you can't collect Social Security -- In short, the Real I.D. Act states these identity cards will be required not only if one wants to drive, but also if you wish to visit a federal government building, collect Social Security, access a federal government service, or use the services of a private entity, such as a bank or an airline.
"States will be responsible for verifying these documents. That means that, when it comes to birth certificates and other documents, they probably will have to make numerous, onerous confirming calls to state and municipal officials or companies to verify the documents authenticity. (Paperwork can easily be faked.) In addition, they will have to cross-check Social Security numbers, birthdates, and more against federal databases.
Once created, the IDs must include the information that currently appears on state-issued driver's licenses and non-driver ID cards - name, sex, addresses and driver's license or other ID number, and a photo. (Under the Act, that photo must be digital - for it will be inputted into the multi-state database I will discuss below.) But the IDs must also include additional features that drivers' licenses and non-driver ID cards do not currently incorporate.
For instance, the ID must include features designed to thwart counterfeiting and identity theft. Unfortunately, while including such features may sound appealing, on the whole, these IDs may make our identities less safe.
Once Real ID is in effect, all fifty states' DMVs will share their information in a common database - and may also verify information given to them against various federal databases. In addition, it's very possible that such data will be sold to commercial entities: Some states already allow driver's license data to be sold to third parties.
Even with current, unlinked databases, thieves increasingly have turned their attention to DMVs. Once databases are linked, access to the all-state database may turn out to be a bonanza for identity thieves.
Finally, the IDs must include a "common machine-readable technology" that must meet requirements set out by the Department of Homeland Security. And, somewhat ominously, Homeland Security is permitted to add additional requirements--which could include "biometric identifiers" such as our fingerprints or a retinal scan."
Much more on the topic here.
Instead of attempts to stir up immigration anger, the state needs to be honest and address the coming reality of the nation's first ever mandatory ID.