National ID Cards Won't Stop Terrorism or Illegal Immigration
by Rep. Ron Paul

            The US House of Representatives passed a spending bill
last week that contains provisions establishing a national ID card,
and the Senate is poised to approve the measure in the next few days. This
week marks the American public's last chance to convince their Senators they
don't want to live in a nation that demands papers from its citizens as they
go about their lives.

            Absent a political miracle in the Senate, within two
years every American will need a conforming national ID card to
participate in ordinary activities.  This REAL ID Act establishes a
massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about
American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of
residence, Social Security number, and physical characteristics.The
legislation also grants open-ended authority to the Secretary of
Homeland Security to require biometric information on IDs in the
future.  This means your harmless looking driver's license could
contain a retina scan, fingerprints, DNA information, or radio
frequency technology.

            Think this sounds farfetched? Read the REAL ID Act, HR
418, for yourself. Its text is available on the Library of Congress
website. A careful reading also reveals that states will be required to
participate in the "Drivers License Agreement," which was crafted by DMV lobbyists
years ago. This agreement creates a massive database of sensitive
information on American citizens that can be shared with Canada and Mexico!

            Terrorism is the excuse given for virtually every new
power grab by the federal government, and the national ID is no
exception.  But federal agencies have tried to create a national ID
for years, long before the 9-11 attacks.  In fact, a 1996 bill sought
to do exactly what the REAL ID Act does: transform state drivers'
licenses into de facto national ID cards.  At the time, Congress was
flooded with calls by angry constituents and the bill ultimately died.

            Proponents of the REAL ID Act continue to make the
preposterous claim that the bill does not establish a national ID
card. This is dangerous and insulting nonsense. Let's get the facts straight: The
REAL ID Act transforms state motor vehicle departments into agents of the federal
government. Nationalizing standards for driver's licenses and birth
certificates in a federal bill creates a national ID system, pure and
simple. Having the name of your particular state on the ID is
meaningless window dressing.

            Federally imposed standards for drivers' license and
birthcertificates make a mockery of federalism and the 10th amendment.
While states technically are not forced to accept the federal
standards, any refusal to comply would mean their residents could not get a job,
receive Social Security,or travel by plane. So rather than imposing a direct mandate on the
states, the federal government is blackmailing them into complying with federal

            One overriding point has been forgotten: Criminals don't
obey laws!  As with gun control, national ID cards will only affect
law-abiding citizens.Do we really believe a terrorist bent on murder is going to
dutifully obtain a federal ID card? Do we believe that people who openly 
floutour immigration laws will nonetheless respect our ID requirements? Any 
ID card can be forged; any federal agency or state DMV is susceptible to 
corruption.Criminals can and will obtain national ID cards, or operate 
without them. National ID cards will be used to track the law-abiding masses,
not criminals.

            May 10, 2005

            Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

Editor's Note: they passed it anyway.

[PP NOTE: The federal government basically bribed the states into this National ID card. The federal government has promised a financial incentive for each participating state's Department of Motor Vehicles to share their databases with federal agencies.]