This is an actual response from Jim Talent, U.S. Senator from Missouri. This
is how the corruptions happens.
Dear Mr. _________,
Thank you for contacting me to voice your concerns regarding the REAL ID
Act, which was recently signed into law. I appreciate the time you have
taken to share your views with me, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
The REAL ID Act contains many long-overdue provisions against identity fraud
that were endorsed by the 9-11 Commission, and especially aims to keep
would-be terrorists from being able to travel. The Act prohibits federal
agencies from accepting state-issued driver's licenses unless they meet
minimum security requirements, so licenses from states that fail those
standards will not be accepted for commercial airline travel. These
requirements are necessary because of the ease with which undocumented
aliens can currently obtain fraudulent identification, pose as citizens and
thus move around the country undetected.
For example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an
undercover investigation of state driver's license practices and procedures,
visiting seven states over a ten month period between 2002 and 2003. In
every jurisdiction, GAO investigators were able to obtain a driver's license
or state-issued ID using fraudulent documents, including fake birth
certificates and fake licenses from other states. These alarming results
coupled with findings that many of the 9-11 hijackers and their associates
used counterfeit social security numbers and other fraudulent documents to
obtain legal driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards which they then used
to open bank accounts, rent cars, board airplanes, and attend flight schools
prompted the 9-11 Commission to recommend that the federal government set
standards for the issuance of birth certificates, driver's licenses, and
other sources of identification. The REAL ID Act establishes such minimum
standards for proof and verification of identity for driver's licenses, and
makes the documents themselves more resistant to counterfeiting and
tampering. Furthermore, the REAL ID Act ensures that driver's licenses
issued to people who are only temporarily authorized to live in the U.S must
expire when the period of authorized stay ends.
The issuance of driver's licenses will continue to be a matter of state
jurisdiction-as it should be. The REAL ID Act does not create, as some
claim, a national identity card; it is the alternative to such a card. It is
the only way we can protect against security threats without requiring
everyone to carry some form of national identification. Civil liberties must
certainly be guarded jealously, but making it harder to counterfeit driver's
licenses is a protection, rather than a restriction, of those liberties.
Again, thank you for contacting me. If I may be of further assistance,
please don't hesitate to call or write.
Thank you for your email. To contact me on this or any other subject, please
Senator Jim Talent