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Published:May 6th, 2007 00:49 EST
One Nation, One Identification Card, One World

One Nation, One Identification Card, One World

By Melissa Filbin

The Real I.D. Act, signed into law in May, will require people living or working in the United States to carry a federally approved identification card. This I.D. card will be needed for nearly all government services and for activities such as traveling on an airplane or opening a bank account.

The I.D. card will make it difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain the identification needed to move freely about the United States; however, it will also affect American citizens. The I.D. card will be distributed through state motor vehicle agencies and require people to present an authentic copy of their birth certificate, social security number, proof of residence and other identification, (all of which will need to be verified by a Department of Motor Vehicles agent) when getting or renewing a drivers license.

Legislatures and governors opposed to the Real I.D. Act say it will greatly increase lines at the DMV.

The Real I.D. Act establishes a centrally-coordinated database of information about American citizens such as name, birthday, s*x, I.D. number, a digital photograph and address. The I.D. card will be electronically readable and have security features to prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication.

The legislation also grants authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, to require biometric information, such as fingerprints, DNA information or a retina scan, on future I.D. cards.

The Real I.D. Act, originally a standalone piece of legislation, was approved in the House, 261-161, in February and then was tacked on to the emergency military spending bill for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ron Paul, R-TX, was one of three House republicans who voted against the bill.  This bill purports to make us safer from terrorists who may sneak into the United States, and from other illegal immigrants. While I agree that these issues are of vital importance, this bill will do very little to make us more secure. It will not address our real vulnerabilities. It will, however, make us much less free, " Paul said in a February 9 House debate on the Real I.D. Act.

Supporters of the Real I.D. Act say the bill does not establish a national I.D. card and it is needed to follow the recommendations made last year by the 9/11 Commission.

F. James Sensenbrenner, R-WIS, introduced the Real I.D. Act to the House.  The goal of the REAL I.D. Act is straightforward. It seeks to prevent another 9/11-type terrorist attack by disrupting terrorist travel. The 9/11 Commission`s terrorist travel report stated that "abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activities . . .  the Real I.D. Act will make America a safer place, " Sensenbrenner said in the February 9 House debate.

The $82 billion war fund bill, including the Real I.D. Act, passed unanimously in the Senate in May and was later signed into law by President Bush. The Real I.D. Act will take effect in May 2008.