Attention I.D Changers and Illegal Immigrants!
May I draw your attention to an interesting article in the March 15 '06 edition of USA Today concerning US drivers licenses.
The original print version contained a handy little diagram/map showing the 10 states where it is still NOT required to show proof of US citizenship in order to get a drivers license.
According to the article, these 10 states are currently : Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maine, Michigan, and Maryland.
The article goes into how these 10 states must comply, by May 2008 with the Real ID Act.
Below is the entire article [online version without map].
P.S. If you are an ID changer or illegal immigrant and you think the world is going to end because of this new law, then I have some encouraging news /comments to make. Please contact me via my website: http://www.onebornfree.com or just leave a question /comment here.
Getting a driver's license to get harder
By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
The cost of obtaining a driver's license could double, and renewing a license by mail would end by 2008, according to state officials responsible for enforcing a federal law aimed at thwarting terrorists and discouraging illegal immigration.
The Real ID Act, approved by Congress in May and scheduled to take effect in May 2008, requires people seeking a license to prove that they are in the USA legally.
State officials from California to Maine fear that they don't have the technology, staff or money to meet the new law's requirements.
"Many are reacting negatively to it," Matt Sundeen of the National Conference of State Legislatures says of state lawmakers. "Real ID ... will have significant fiscal implications for the states."
The USA has about 240 million licensed drivers, and roughly 12 million have state-issued identification cards, says Jarret Egan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.
Real ID sets federal rules for obtaining and renewing licenses and state identification cards. Residents of states that don't comply with the law will not be able to use their licenses for official federal purposes such as boarding a plane or entering a federal courthouse.
"It's disappointing to hear from some (states) that it's inconvenient or too difficult to implement," says Jeff Lungren, spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sponsored the law.
"The 9/11 hijackers used multiple driver's licenses and birth certificates ... to live openly in the United States while they planned their deadly attacks. Real ID is an effort to prevent that from ever occurring again. We gave (states) three years. This is a priority, and it needs to be treated as such," he says.
After Sept. 11, many states began giving greater scrutiny to applicants for licenses and identification cards.
Only 10 states don't require proof that an applicant is legally in the USA in order to drive, Sundeen says. States typically require new drivers to produce proof of age and one or two other forms of ID, usually including a photo.
Under Real ID, applicants would have to show proof of a Social Security number or why they don't have one, plus documents bearing their name, address and birth date.
The law's requirements for verifying such documents and features to make counterfeiting licenses more difficult will force states to make changes.
"Even though some states believe that they already comply with the Real ID act, in actuality none of them do," says Jonathan Frenkel, a director in the law enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security.
State officials are asking, for example, how they will verify records of people whose birthplaces no longer exist, like East Germany; how states, required to share information through a database, can prevent identity theft; and how much the new rules will cost.
"What do you do with people on the Gulf Coast, where so many records were lost?" asks Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who says 85% of his state's vital records are scattered among libraries, museums and town offices.
"We have no argument with the intent of Real ID. Our concern is what (it) is going to force us to do. ... Is it really going to do what it's intended to do, improving national security and preventing identity theft?"
Congress has appropriated $40 million to the states to comply with the act.
Kentucky and New Hampshire have received $3 million each for pilot projects. State officials have estimated that annual costs could reach tens of millions of dollars.
Among states' concerns:
• The workforce at California motor vehicle offices would increase by 500 employees, or roughly 10%, says State Sen. Michael Machado, a Democrat representing the Central Valley. The $26 fee to renew a license could more than double, and the state's 23 million drivers who renew by mail or the Internet no longer will be able to do so, he says.
• In Maine, where driver's license fees have been used to fix bridges and build roads, "we'd go from being a revenue generator to a drain on our state highway fund," Dunlap says.
• New Jersey began upgrading procedures in 2003, including verifying Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration.
"In a lot of respects, we're well placed," says David Weinstein, spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. "But like most of the other states, we're concerned we're not going to get direction in enough time to meet the (effective) date."