Archive for the ‘State Affairs’ Category

BTC- If they can challenge your citizenship, they can challenge your human rights as a U.S. citizen. If they can take away your rights, they can throw you in jail indefinitely without legal representation, counsel or due process or even deport you without contacting your family.
Think this scenario isn’t real?

“This program is designed to fail because it relies on information from infamously inaccurate databases. We’ve already seen an increase in racial profiling, pre-textual arrests and mistaken identity of US citizens,” she said, adding, “Combined with the lack of regulation and publicly available information on Secure Communities, ICE will be essentially immune to accountability or transparency. With a budget reaching the billions, taxpayers should be very concerned.”

It could be you.

A little-known program run by the Department of Homeland Security is using inaccurate databases and functioning “as little more than a dragnet to funnel even more people into the already overburdened” detention and deportation system of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, according to three civil rights organizations that have filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

ICE claims that the program, called “Secure Communities,” targets “dangerous criminal aliens.”

The “Secure Communities” initiative furthers the ever-worsening trend of involving local and state law enforcement agencies in federal immigration enforcement. The three groups say that since the inception of the program, there has been a marked increase in racial profiling, excessive costs to state and local government and due-process violations.

The groups are the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. They filed their FOIA request in January.

Sunita Patel, a CCR staff attorney, told Truthout, “Our principal concern is that this is a very secretive program about which there is little public information. It is being implemented in communities, but the lack of transparency makes it impossible for community groups to determine whether abuses are being committed. We hope our FOIA suit will shed some light on the issue.

“This program is designed to fail because it relies on information from infamously inaccurate databases. We’ve already seen an increase in racial profiling, pre-textual arrests and mistaken identity of US citizens,” she said, adding, “Combined with the lack of regulation and publicly available information on Secure Communities, ICE will be essentially immune to accountability or transparency. With a budget reaching the billions, taxpayers should be very concerned.”

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — With tax collections tanking and jobless rates at record highs, state legislators hundreds of miles from Washington have found an easy way to appeal to conservative voters: Bash the federal government.

Lawmakers in 44 states have introduced measures warning Congress not to trample states’ rights and dozens of other resolutions opposing the government on issues including gun control and health care.
Their efforts play to people angry with the status quo. A recent Pew Research Center poll found high anti-incumbent sentiment among voters ahead of the November congressional elections.

“The closer you are to elections, you see legislators with more backbone,” said Michael Boldin of the California-based Tenth Amendment Center, a nonpartisan think tank named for the constitutional amendment that specifies any power not granted to the federal government is reserved for the states. “I’m sure there’s a lot of grandstanding.”

No states are likely to secede from the union, but they could derail or delay federal legislation the way they have by balking at a national identification program billed as a way to fight terrorism and identity theft. Most states still aren’t complying with the Real ID law passed in 2005.

In conservative South Carolina, Republican House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said his caucus made standing up to the federal government a top priority this year.

“I hear it at church, at the barber shop: ‘You guys need to stand up.’ The issue of federal intrusion is a John Doe issue,” he said. “This is a yes-point for us. They’re mad. They’re upset. They expect us to respond.”

That response included passing a resolution to assert the state’s rights under several constitutional amendments. It says South Carolina’s attorney general will sue if Congress passes mandates the state deems unconstitutional, and that no state agency will follow them while a decision is pending.

“To say public reaction and being vocal doesn’t have any influence is ludicrous,” Bingham said. “That’s how you enact change in a civilized society.” :::MORE HERE:::

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/nation/dont-tread-on-me-state-lawmakers-curry-conservative-favor-with-anti-washington-measures-84717827.html#ixzz0fxwGwaqY

ID program declared “DOA”, get’s budget for life support

Last week, the U.S. Senate approved a $43 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for fiscal year 2010, which began Oct. 1. The measure included substantial increases in DHS spending in several key technology areas, but slashed Real ID funding by 40%, from $100 million to $60 million in 2010.

That reduction all but ensures that Real ID is going nowhere, said Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute. But continuing hesitation by Congress to kill the program entirely highlights the somewhat touchy political nature of the program, he said.

“A straightforward repeal of Real ID is too much for our Congress to handle at this point,” Harper said. “There isn’t any love for Real ID in Capitol Hill. Most in the Senate and the House don’t want it.”

At the same time, many lawmakers are reluctant to openly reject it for fear of being seen as being too soft on national security issues, he said.

The Real ID Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2005 as part of the government’s effort to combat terrorism. The law requires states to follow a single national standard for identifying and authenticating people who apply for a driver’s license. It spells out specific technical and process requirements, including the use of biometric identifiers, for issuing licenses.

But the law has evoked widespread criticism from privacy advocates and civil rights groups who say it would create a de facto national identity card system that would be hard to manage and even harder to secure. Several have expressed particular concern over a Real ID requirement that all state driver’s license databases be linked via a central hub for easier information sharing. Even the DHS itself, which is responsible for implementing the Act, has expressed reservations about Real ID security, privacy and logistics.

States, too, have railed against Real ID, largely because it requires them to pay for the program themselves. Many see it as an attempt by the federal government to force costly and unwanted ID standards on them. A majority of states have formally expressed their refusal to participate in the program, including Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Washington and South Carolina.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, in fact, was one of the first to reject Real ID when she was the governor of Arizona — a fact that many have said makes it especially hard for her to now try and push it on other states.

In a bid to make the idea of a national identity standard more palatable to states, several U.S. senators earlier this year introduced a bill proposing some revisions to Real ID . That “Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification” Act of 2009,” or Pass ID Act, has the same goal as Real ID, minus some of its more controversial provisions.

The DHS has also pushed back implementation schedules on numerous occasions in what is seen by some as an attempt to push the issue down the road until someone kills it.

Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, said that the proposed budget cuts make it impossible for Real ID to move forward in its present incarnation. “Congress is looking at this realistically and saying that states simply do not have the money to implement Real ID,” she said. “For all intents and purposes, real ID has been put on the back-burner. But it isn’t dead, yet.”


There’s a growing movement on the part of states to override federal laws and regulations under the 10th Amendment, which reserves powers to the states not delegated to the federal government. So far, the battle lines have been drawn at Real ID, medical marijuana and firearms, but federally mandated health insurance may not be far behind.

State sovereignty resolutions were introduced in 37 states this year; seven passed. Although the resolutions are not legally binding, Tenth Amendment Center founder Michael Boldin said they “serve notice” that states will no longer automatically enforce federal mandates in areas they believe the central government has no constitutional authority.

Montana’s first-in-the-nation law reasserting state authority with the regulation of firearms manufactured and sold within state boundaries was soon followed by a similar law in Tennessee. Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have already sent letters to gun dealers and federal permit holders in both states telling them to ignore the state law. A court battle is next.

Nearly 20 other states have similar legislation in the works, including directives to their governors to order National Guard troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Next year, Arizona will have a state constitutional amendment on the ballot that allows residents to opt out of any national health care program.

“The federal government doesn’t rule to limit its own power very often. I don’t think going to court and trying to litigate is the best way to put the federal government in a constitutional box,” Boldin said, pointing out that popular resistance to the hated Stamp Act led by Revolutionary War heroes Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry “effectively nullified the law.” The same thing happened with the Real ID Act, which many states refused to enforce. “The feds had to back off three times,” Boldin said.

State sovereignty supporters stand on solid historical ground. James Madison’s “Virginia Plan,” which would have given Congress veto power with state laws and allowed the federal judiciary to hear all disputes, was soundly defeated by the signers of the Constitution. A needed check on an overreaching federal government that grows bigger by the day, the reassertion of state sovereignty should be a welcome development to Americans concerned about losing their liberties — just like the Founders were.

A trend to push conservative civil libertarians towards Democratic representation is evolving for challengers of the national identity agenda. The trend affects states who endorse the surveillance industrial complex and whose interests create competition among Republicans maintaining career partisan allegiances. Opposing the Real ID card program has an ability to create division amongst Republicans, the weaker party among Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches.

North Carolina identity activist Jim Palmer of NCard.info was asked by Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R) to seek support on the anti-Real ID effort from state level Democrats.

“Mitch Gillespie is so unconcerned, he is willing let all of our personal and private data be put into a centralized database including our biometric facial features that can and will be hacked. Since 2005, over 263 million personal records have been breached,” said Palmer whose back and forth with Rep. Gillespie resulted in his dropping the issue via e-mail.

Gillespie’s retort was telling about the balances of power currently dominated by Democrats.

“This thinking shows you don’t understand anything about the political process. I will remove you from my contacts. You need to contact Sen. Queen in the future, ” said Gillespie, who later quailed ” ..maybe a democrat will get elected.”

The fight to secure drivers licenses in North Carolina has been visceral. There are at least 2 North Carolina grassroots organizations that are single issue focused on Real ID and identity surveillance. It does seem like the North Carolina Democrats took up opposition to the national ID issue so that any worthwhile legislative effort would be sure to drop dead. Earlier this year, Rep. Cole adopted NCard’s trusts, stringing them along. In the end Cole was found stalling, using his “support” as a placeholder for representation during the legislative session.
Economic development dominates legislative concerns in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates of the nation. An immigration reform carrot holds less sway with North Carolina’s citizens than it would in a border state like Texas, where an Enhanced Drivers License seems more pragmatic. Economic leverage from banking interests and local unemployment rates propel the difference.


BIOMETRICS, IDENTITY FRAUD & LOCAL MOTOR VEHICLE DIVISIONS

Palmer claims national financial pressures have created a spike of internal DMV fraud. Fraudulent activity may seem like a way to pay down debts and stay afloat in a time of high unemployment for some.

As the economy worsens, DMV employees around the country are getting tempted from offers of $250 – $1500 for a fake id. Some have gone as far as changing the information on an existing license such as image, height and weight. So much for biometrics helping in cases like that and it opens the door for those named on the license for id theft,”says Palmer.

Biometrics and drivers license divisions seem to have a simpatico relationship. Some claim biometrics actually help stop immigrant identity fraud. However, those opposed to the current Real ID program believe border fence and corrupt anti-immigration advocates are creating false solutions to real problems in order to keep the broken system in place. The benefits of dirt-cheap wage labor, without the fuss of human rights or health insurance benefits, maintains local profitability for businesses. The same businesses who rely on current immigration trends to just stay afloat. If that makes the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative’s demand for pro-biometrics propaganda look good, that’s what gets in the mainstream news.

With so much to lose, key political challengers become targets for media hit pieces.

TROUBLED CHAMPIONS IN THE CAROLINAS

While Anti-Real ID representation is getting the cold shoulder from some state level Republicans, transpartisan national champions of the anti-Real ID effort appear to have been targeted for smears in the Carolinas.

North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) opposed the national ID card program. After a presidential bid in 2008, it became apparent he had more power in Washington and nationally than the local bankster cronies running North Carolina. It is no accident that he has been weakened politically by media sharks who continue to call up an outed affair.

For those with open eyes – politicians are known to have numerous dalliances, sometimes deviant sex, with anyone from prostitutes to government aides if they allow self delusion to set in. Sexual indiscretion and power are potent cocktails for anyone who assumes a lot of responsibility. The stage is perpetually set for political entrapment. When it’s no longer expedient to keep each other’s secrets, indiscretion is political capital. Threat of ruin is a threat of force.

As part of the 2008 post-election coverage, the press refreshed Edwards’ outed affair as news. Edwards became the target for a media campaign feeding frenzy. It is our assessment that the North Carolina Senator provoked a political enemy enough to convene with a smear campaign. If the only obstacle to material compliance in North Carolina on a federal ID card program was Senator John Edwards, opponents might have found a way to ground him.

The problem with politicians today is they have no moral high ground left. They do what they want, have political opponents assassinated, employ lawyers to uphold thinly veiled double standards between themselves and the public and allow the corporations to shot call in their offices. Even the idealists believe U.S. politicians are little more than mobsters with a good haircut. It’s low living at the highest levels of power. This is why every 2-4 years you have a chance to elect someone different.

Case in point, Jim Palmer asserted that North Carolinians who care about their identity have an opportunity to elect someone who stands strong on the issues other than Mitch Gillespie regardless of party.

In 2009, extramarital affairs do not oust people from elected positions. What does oust the “monogamy-challenged” is public funding of private indiscretion and further entrapment by the press. This is currently consistent with the media beating conservative Governor Mark Sanford is sustaining after the outing of his affair. At last report, Sanford had returned the money.
Smear campaigns are the last line of fire before all out floor skirmishes take place over controversial issues, such as national identity. We, the people, have representation from elected officials who are corruptable, human and sometimes too politically weak to take up the charge. If there is no one left qualified to represent us, the dedicated must persist in finding someone who will represent them.

North Carolina private identity advocate Jim Palmer is doing just that.

“[It’s been] another Session with Mitch [Gillespie] ignoring the voice of We the People. Perhaps he won’t be reelected. My fingers are crossed. My emails are being sent out across the district.”

BTC Exclusive- Widespread discrepancies about the number of States opposed to Real ID have plagued local and national media outlets. The federal government has only recognized 13 States who oppose the Real ID Act. Various advocacy groups nationwide have had inconsistent consensus, spottily reported to national and local media.

According to reports by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, 24 states have passed laws opposing the federal plan for national identity. Other states have filed legislation and passed resolutions up to the federal government, signed by their Governors. As many as 20 States oppostion to the Real ID Act have gone unrecognized by the DHS Senate Committee in Washington D.C.

EPIC or the Electronic Privacy Information Center, sponsored a current total of State’s opposition to the Real ID Act. A current cross check of legislation will be available on Real Nightmare.org.

As of 5:23 EST, the count of States who have passed a law or resolution against the federal Real ID Act is 25.

STATES WHO PASSED LAWS OPPOSING REAL ID
TOTAL : 15 [GOLD]
AK, WA, ID, AZ, MT, OK, LA, GA, SC, NH, ME, VA, MN, OR, MO

STATES WHO PASSED RESOLUTIONS OPPOSING REAL ID
TOTAL : 10 + MO [SILVER]
HI, NV, UT, CO, NE, SD, ND, AR, IL, TN

STATES WHO FILED LEGISLATION THAT DIDN’T MAKE IT in ’09
TOTAL : 7 [COPPER]
IA, PA, WI, KY, TX, CT, MA,

(and unofficially NC where they have been lied to repeatedly)
[1 Cast Iron Skillet for Rep. Cole]

EPIC & the ACLU are updating their website today to offer corrections to media outlets.

The number of organizations which opposed Real ID, according to this AILA report, is pretty long: 628 (+ The 5-11 Campaign), 629.  Additions and corrections are welcome regarding an update according to the PASS Act.

Texas anti-border fence legislation lives. 
Anti-Real ID Act legislation dies.

AUSTIN – Very few bills ushered into Texas’ State Affairs Committee this session on the premises of immigration cleared the sieve last week.  An unfortunate latecomer was a Texas resolution to comprehensively push back against Real ID regulations. It died in committee behind a massive bottleneck of other imperiled legislations late last week.   Immigrations groups on both sides of the aisle saw their hard work lose traction and move toward history.

“Several of the proposals are similar to ones that were introduced in the last session, which failed to make it out of committee because they were considered unconstitutional.”  
Some groups blame Committee Chair Burt Solomons, others blame House Speaker Strauss for deliberately overwhelming State Affairs case loads to override and failure of hundreds of pieces of legislation following immigration hearings last month. According to Texas Insider,  the causes range from  constituent pressures, previous counsel agreements and even lack of constitutionality. 

To date Solomons and his committee have taken no action on any bill relating to illegal immigration.”  -Texas Insider

To Live and Die by Real ID Regulations

Not all immigration related bills fielded through State Affairs died last week. Legislation authored by Rep. Eddie Lucio III,  opposing expansion 
of the border wall fence was one of the few fortunate resolutions to make it out of the State Affairs Committee after grazing the immigration debate. Adrienne Evans, of Big Bend Coalition , remarked that the lack of ability to get any immigration bills whatsoever out of the State Affairs Committee “stands out this session.”
HCR 50, a resolution to uphold the 10th Amendment, heard amongst many controversial immigration bills made it out of State Affairs and is now headed for a House floor vote.   A germaine win on the 10th Amendment could address federal regulations in the Real ID Act affecting Texas.
As an aside note: Scott Nicol of NoBorderWall returned last week from Washington D.C. to support AZ Rep. Raul Grijalva’s move to do away with expanded border wall regulations in the Real ID Act.
For more information on No Border Wall & Grijalva’s legislation visit: