Resolution in Opposition to the REAL ID Act Exposed

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The Resolution in Opposition to the REAL ID Act was adopted by ALEC's Homeland Security Task Force at the States and Nation Policy Summit on December 9, 2006, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on January 8, 2007. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

This Resolution expresses opposition to the post-9/11 federal REAL ID Act by applying legal/constitutional reasoning that contradicts ALEC's constitutional reasoning in other Resolutions and Acts. For example, the ALEC Resolution to Enforce Our Immigration Laws and Secure Our Border alleges a state "duty" to enforce federal immigration laws, but here, ALEC corporations and politicians are trying to thwart a federal law passed to aid enforcement of immigration law (REAL ID proponents claimed that it would aid in immigration and national security enforcement because some of the 9/11 hijackers had state driver's licenses). While the REAL ID law may have been poorly conceived and intrude on the rights of Americans in the name of security, the same can be said of parts of the USA Patriot Act, and ALEC also penned a uniformly positive Resolution in Support of the USA PATRIOT Act.

ALEC Resolution Text

WHEREAS, the implementation of the REAL ID Act intrudes upon the states’ sovereign power to determine their own policies for identification, licensure and credentialing of individuals residing therein; and

WHEREAS, one page of the 400-page 9/11 Commission report, that did not give consideration to identification issues, prompted Congress to pass the legislation which created the Real ID Act, ignoring states' sovereignty and their right to self governance; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act converts the state driver licensing function into federal law enforcement and national security functions that are outside the purpose and core competency of driver licensing bureaus; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act thus constitutes an unfunded mandate by the federal government to the states; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act requires states to conform their processes of issuing drivers licenses and identification cards to federal standards by May 2008; and

WHEREAS, the study cited below predicts state compliance with the REAL ID Act’s provisions will require all of the estimated 245 million current cardholders in the United States to renew their current identity documents in person by producing three or four identity documents, thereby increasing processing time and doubling wait time at licensing centers; and

WHEREAS, identification-based security provides only limited security benefits because it can be avoided by defrauding or corrupting card issuers, and because it gives no protection against people not already known to be planning or committing wrongful acts; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act will cost the states over $11 billion to implement according to a recent survey of 47 state licensing authorities conducted by the National Governor’s Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators; and

WHEREAS, the use of identification-based security can not be justified as part of a “layered” security system if the costs of the identification “layer” – in dollars, lost privacy, and lost liberty – is greater than the security identification provides; and

WHEREAS, the “common machine-readable technology” required by the REAL ID Act would convert state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards into tracking devices, allowing computers to note and record people’s whereabouts each time they are identified; and

WHEREAS, a more secure and flexible system of verifying identity may be achieved by less-intrusive means to the individual and to states by employing the free market and private-sector ingenuity; and

WHEREAS, the requirement that states maintain databases of information about their citizens and residents and then share this personal information with all other states will expose every state to the information security weaknesses of every other state and threaten the privacy of every American; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act wrongly coerces states into doing the federal government’s bidding by threatening to refuse non-complying states’ citizens the privileges and immunities enjoyed by other states’ citizens; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act threatens the privacy and liberty of those individuals belonging to unpopular or minority groups, including racial and cultural organizations, firearm owners and collectors, faith-based and religious affiliates, political parties, and social movements; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act thus imposes a national identification system through the states premised upon the threat to national security, but without the benefit of public debate and discourse;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the REAL ID Act is determined by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to be in opposition to the Jeffersonian principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited government; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ALEC implores the United States Congress and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suspend implementation of the REAL ID Act; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the REAL ID Act should be repealed outright by the United States Congress to avoid the significant problems it currently poses to state sovereignty, individual liberty and limited government.

Adopted by the Homeland Security Task Force at the States and Nation Policy Summit on December 9, 2006.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors January 8. 2007.