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Why Oppose the Real ID Act?

  • The Real ID Act is a REAL threat to privacy . Real ID threatens privacy in two ways. First, it consolidates Americans’ personal information into a network of interlinking databases accessible to the federal government and bureaucrats throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. This national mega-database would invite government snooping and be a goldmine for identity thieves. Second, it mandates that all driver’s licenses and ID cards have an unencrypted “machine-readable zone” that would contain personal information on Americans that could be easily “skimmed” by anybody with a barcode reader.


  • A Real ID will become a REAL necessity for everyday life. The use of a Real ID driver’s license will not be limited to boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings. The Bush administration has already stated that Real IDs will become necessary for “everyday transactions,” such as receiving government benefits, voting, or applying for a job. The private sector will also begin mandating a Real ID card for everyday purposes. Despite what the DHS claims, Real ID is a real national ID card.


  • The Real ID Act will be a REAL bureaucratic nightmare. New Yorkers will pay for Real ID through higher fees and bureaucratic hassles. In addition to slower service, longer lines, increased technical glitches and repeat visits to the DMV, many New Yorkers will be unable to provide the documents required to obtain a Real ID. This will leave many New Yorkers, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, unable to obtain critical government services or fully participate in American civic life.


  • The Real ID Act is a REAL economic disaster. The Real ID Act is an unfunded mandate that would cost billions of dollars to implement. Most of the cost would be siphoned from cash-strapped state budgets and out of drivers’ wallets through higher fees. The DHS originally estimated that the law would cost $23.1 billion. The final regulations slash this estimate to $9.9 billion over 11 years by relying on the ridiculous premise that only 75 percent of licensed drivers will seek to obtain a Real ID. As of February 2008, Congress had set aside only $80 million to help pay for implementing Real ID across the entire country.


  • The Real ID Act makes DMV’s REAL immigration enforcement agencies. DMV agents will have to make complicated judgments about a person’s lawful status in the Untied States. This is an inappropriate and dangerous function for state government. Regulating immigration is a federal responsibility. Moreover, restricting immigrants’ access to driver’s licenses is a bad public safety policy as it sends immigrants further into the shadows and keeps them distanced from public safety and law enforcement officials.


  • And it won’t stop terrorists. Identity-based security is not an effective way to stop terrorism. Driver’s licenses do not reveal evil intent, and Real ID will force many who may have valuable intelligence information further into the shadows.
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