• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • No Time for Retreat on Security

    USA Today has a great editorial today on the Obama administration’s effort to abandon the 9/11 Commission’s REAL ID recommendation:

    Four years have passed since Congress enacted an ambitious law, the Real ID Act, to avoid a repeat by making it tougher to obtain a driver’s license fraudulently. Yet compliance remains wildly inconsistent. … Now, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who previously was governor of Arizona, one of the lagging states, is proposing to junk Real ID and replace it with what she says is a practical compromise. But the new plan, Pass ID, appears to be a needless retreat.

    Where states have had the will, progress has been substantial.

    In 2003, fewer than half the states even bothered to check Social Security numbers provided by applicants against a federal database. Now, according to the Homeland Security Department, all of them do.

    Before Real ID, even fewer states used federal data to verify documents immigrants used to prove they were in the U.S. legally. Now, all but a handful do. Maryland was one of the last holdouts, but after the state became a magnet for illegal immigrants seeking driver’s licenses, it changed its law and has begun verifying their status.

    Several states have found a range of benefits. When Indiana checked its 6 million drivers against a Social Security database, it ended up invalidating 19,000 licenses that didn’t match. When it began using “facial recognition” technology to make its photos secure, the state caught a man who had 149 licenses with the same photo but different names.

    The federal government should pay for the changes it demands. But it has already given states more than $130 million to tighten licensing procedures. Not enough, perhaps, but not a niggling amount, either, and hardly sufficient reason to cave in to the laggards.

    Yet Pass ID would move in that direction.

    It would weaken demands that states certify the legitimacy of documents. It would push back by years a requirement to verify the validity of birth certificates and remove the mandate for passport verification. It would also let states decide how to handle applicants whose Social Security numbers don’t match federal databases. Instead, the databases should be improved and made easy for the states to use.

    Eight years after 9/11, requiring states to have credible driver’s licenses is not an extreme burden. But the evidence says all states will comply only if forced to do so.

    More on REAL ID vs PASS ID, here.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×