Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Oppose the REAL ID Act

Now is the time to call your Senator and urge them to oppose the REAL ID Act (H.R. 418). The proposed law would simply prevent some of the people fleeing persecution from obtaining the asylum status they deserve while granting unprecedented powers to a federal agency. Also, by denying driver's licenses to numerous tax-paying people, it will create a dangerous situation of uninsured drivers forced to drive without a valid driver's license, which will drive people underground and have them fall out of the DMV databases. Encouraging people to live in the United States without any government record is not going to improve national security.

The REAL ID Act also combines a series of unrelated ideas, each of which is dubious when studied closely.

Imposing guilt by association. It would require non-citizens somehow to prove that they are not guilty by association with anyone the government thinks is related to terrorism.

Suspending the writ of habeas corpus in several cases. It would suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which has not been done for over a century, for certain types of cases. Although Congress certainly has the power to do this, the fact it has not been done in over a century shows that it is not a reasonable thing to do. (When Congress suspended the writ during the Civil War, it quickly reinstated it.)


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