States To Defy Federal License Law
Legislators in at least six states have vowed to ignore a federal law that denies driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and protects the country from terrorists by forcing states to verify the authenticity of every applicant’s documents.
Passed by Congress in 2005 to improve national security, the Real ID Act will establish standardized driver’s licenses nationwide that will be less prone to fraud and will prevent terrorists from abusing them as did several of the September 11 hijackers.
States will have to confirm that documents, such as a birth certificate or passport, submitted to get a license are legitimate and that the applicant is in the country legally. A newly created federal database will link all licensing data and states must check it before issuing a license to assure that the applicant has not been banned from driving in another state.
A variety of states have promised to pass bills ordering its officials to ignore the new federal law, which must be fully implemented by 2013. Maine kicked off the defiance rally and Georgia, Montana, New Mexico, Washington and Wyoming have followed.
Residents of states that fail to begin implementing the law by 2008 will be greatly inconvenienced because their driver’s licenses will not be accepted as proof of identification at airports, federal buildings or when applying for any sort of federal benefits.