The following rhetoric is a pleasant surprise from colleague, Mark Lerner, known for possessing good information about Real ID.
Commentary by Mark Lerner of Stop Real ID Coalition
Today the DHS extended the deadline for states to ask for an extension in order to comply with the Real ID Act 2005. Prior to today the states had until 11 October 2009 to ask for an extension. States now have until 1 December 2009.
What I find very interesting is the strategy DHS and others are using to persuade states and Congress to agree to support the PASS ID Act, SB261.
DHS is reminding states and Congress that under current federal law (The Real ID Act 2005) DHS will be left with no alternative but to comply with the Real ID Act, 31 December 2009. I was present for Secretary Napolitano’s testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee on 15 July 2009. The Secretary verbally drew an image of long lines at airports and entrances to federal facilities.
According to the Secretary everyone would have to be subject to secondary screening procedures because not one State would be Real ID compliant by 31 December 2009.
I question why it is that we seem to always be told that if we do not do something today the sky will fall. Yes, the PASS ID Act, if passed and signed into law would give the States new timelines to comply with federal legislation (PASS Act) and the old timelines of the Real ID Act would no longer be in effect.
There are other alternatives. Congress may decide to extend the implementation date for the Real ID Act 2005 past 31 December 2009.
If I did not trust DHS I might think that the extension is being given so that the opposition to the Real ID Act would not be apparent on 11 October. If the 11 October date came and States did not ask for extensions there would be “discussion” about why states were not asking for the extensions. By extending the date until 1 December it gives Congress the time to pass the PASS ID Act legislation and have it signed by the President before any discussion takes place.
The best alternative would be if Congress would allow opposing testimony to the PASS Act and consider additional alternatives to the Real ID Act 2005, PASS ID Act (SB1261) and the Real ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR3471). Senator Lieberman did not allow any opposing testimony to the PASS Act when the legislation was in the committee he chairs.
It is noteworthy that Senator Lieberman did not allow opposing testimony and now DHS seems to want to eliminate the “discussion” about why States would not as for extensions to comply with the Real ID Act.
For those of you who do not know, many of those who oppose the Real ID Act oppose the PASS ID legislation for the same reasons.
Why are our elected officials and DHS so afraid of debate/discussion about the Real ID Act 2005, the PASS ID Act and the Real ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009? The answer is very simple. DHS and Congress are afraid if there is a discussion about the Real ID Act 2005 and/or other proposed legislation that discussion might turn into a much broader discussion about the power the federal government is seeking over States and citizens. [*cough* “IMMIGRATION”-BTC]
It is time for a discussion about civil liberties and national security.
We, as a country have gone through this charade before. There was no debate at all in the United States Senate when the Real ID Act 2005 passed and was signed into law.