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California Edges Toward Joining Real ID Revolt 211

Posted by kdawson
from the blinking-every-time dept.
The Department of Homeland Security's Real ID program has a real challenge on its hands from California. DHS had said it will only grant extensions from the Real ID rules taking effect on May 11 to states that apply by March 31 and promise to implement Real ID by 2010. California requested an extension but would not make the latter promise. DHS buckled and said, in effect, "Good enough." Perhaps they realized that trying to slap giant California around is qualitatively different than doing the same to New Hampshire. In another crack in the wall. DHS has granted Montana a waiver it explicitly did not ask for. From Wired: "For a short moment Thursday, millions of Californians were in danger of facing pat-downs at the airport and being blocked from federal buildings come May 11... DHS had said before Thursday it won't grant Real ID extensions to states who don't commit to implementing the rules in the future. That meant Tuesday's letter looked like enough to join California to the small rebellion against the Real ID rules. For Californians that would mean enduring the same fate facing citizens of South Carolina, Maine, Montana, and New Hampshire... [A]fter Threat Level provided Homeland Security spokesman Laura Keehner with the letter, Keehner said California's commitment to thinking about commitment is good enough."
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California Edges Toward Joining Real ID Revolt

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:17AM (#22843768)
    Anti-immigrant fervor has grown steadily during the Bush administration, mostly due to the over-investment in foreign workers during the Clinton administration and the economic downturn during the early 2000s. The anger is mostly directed at Mexican and South (and Central) American foreigners who are perceived as coming into the US and stealing jobs from hard working Americans.

    Hence the call for RealID. If you have one, supposedly you can finally prove that you are a citizen and entitled to all the rights and privileges thereto. Mexican? Sorry, amigo, don't let the fence scratch you on the way out. So with all the anger towards jerb-takers, politicians see an easy way to gain votes and not actually fix anything: RealID.

    It is particularly sad that we're not more open to qualified foreigners, but rather lump all immigrants (legal or not) into the same category of jerb-stealers. If you want to see what the average American thinks of immigrants, watch Lou Dobbs once in a while. Then you'll understand that not only is there a strong desire in this country for RealID, but that those people are sadly the majority.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:26AM (#22843824) Homepage
    I've oft heard the argument made that the idea of states' rights makes less sense nowadays when people regularly move to a different state than their own for university, and then perhaps to a different state to work, and then perhaps to yet another state to retire. Instead of a band of 13 somewhat diverse colonies where people felt some allegiance just to their neighbours instead of the whole country, we now have national media and increasing cultural homogeny (Red/Blue state issues aside). We might as well reflect that in government.
  • by Nomen Publicus (1150725) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:27AM (#22843834)
    Identity has little if anything to do with intent.

    Citizens with valid and accurate papers are perfectly capable of entering a federal building with evil intent.

    So you have to wonder exactly what the government thinks it is protecting itself from by using REAL ID?

  • by resistant (221968) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:29AM (#22843848) Homepage Journal
    As has been remarked before (by myself and others), one of the more interesting results of demanding such specific identification of residents of states that balk at Big Brother is the abrupt denial of the Constitutional right to seek redress of grievances in the courts (read the Federal courts). If you have such "leper" identification, suddenly you cannot sue anyone in the Federal courts, or even show up to defend yourself if you are sued in a Federal court or charged with a crime in the Federal courts, or testify as a material witness in Federal courts. Will Federal judges issue contempt of court citations against the defendants, or against the armed agents who prevent the defendants or witnesses from entering the courtrooms? Getting Federal agents to enforce a blizzard of contempt of court citations against themselves could be problematic. I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one at drunken parties, but this all seems entertaining in a grim way.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:44AM (#22843964) Journal

    I've oft heard the argument made that the idea of states' rights makes less sense nowadays when people regularly move to a different state than their own for university, and then perhaps to a different state to work, and then perhaps to yet another state to retire.
    There are many people who move to Wisconsin to take advantage of their great public University. Then move away to a state, like California or Arizona to work where there are more jobs in their area of expertise. Then they retire to Florida, where they pay no state income tax. It is only because of the states' sovereignty, separate from the Federal Government, that the people in those states can decide for themselves what is important.

    States' rights make more sense now than ever before. People are able to move from state to state more easily than in the past. It's a feedback loop. As more retirees move to states like Florida and vote, more retiree friendly legislation gets passed, and more are drawn there as a result. They are happy because they get to live in a state where they have the votes to get what they want. And I'm happy they aren't here driving ten under the speed limit, clogging up the highways where I live. It's win-win.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:45AM (#22843972)
    The source of the angst is not Manuel, though. It was Binter from India who came here on an H1-B and took that PM job from Joe America Programmer. The loss of high-quality jobs to immigrants who have no intention of staying in the US for long periods is the root cause here.

    There are two ways to look at Binter. The first, unfortunately, is the way we have reacted. We turned against him and Manuel and want them out of the country so that we can have those jobs back.

    The second is to look at the benefits that these people bring to the country and strive to keep them here. Which is to say that we should be encouraging the best and brightest from around the world to come here and stay here instead of acting as a five year internship and then sending them home.

    But anti-immigrant sentiment is nothing new, and it will always be fomented by the government whenever they need to gain some quick votes.
  • Montana Governor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:50AM (#22843990) Homepage Journal

    A couple weeks ago, I heard the governor of Montana on NPR, talking about why his state wasn't going along with the federal plan. It was an embarrassing interview, he tried to sound folksy as a rural westerner would, but ended up sounding ornery, obstinate for no real reason, and clueless on the real issues. In my opinion, he missed a real chance to explain real reasons why Real ID doesn't make sense. I very much wish that they would get security experts like Bruce Schneier to talk in layman's terms about the actual shortcomings, or even Constitutional scholars to talk about the states-rights issues that apply here, than to get politicos who just want to explain why they "ain't signin' up today fer a concept of tomarra."

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twistedsymphony (956982) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:27AM (#22844238) Homepage

    I wish states would step up and grow a pair more often. It's about time the states remembered their place in our system of checks and balances.
    Whenever someone goes on about giving more power to the federal government I politely remind them that this is the UNITED STATES of America ... not the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT of America.

    I live in NH and a co-worker was complaining about NH was not adopting RealID and that they would have to suffer additional search and seizure at the Airports and borders because of it. After explaining what Real ID entails, they agreed with me that it's good to be a NH citizen, where on many an occasion we thumb our noses at invasive federal programs that do more harm than good.

    There's a reason NH was chosen for the Free State Project [freestateproject.org], as much as I hate the winter months here, IMO, it's politically the best state to live in (tax wise it's the 2nd best state to live in too, and that's only because Alaskans get oil kickbacks).
  • by resistant (221968) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:42AM (#22844358) Homepage Journal

    On the contrary, after the deadline, you cannot (legally) enter Federal buildings and therefore the courtrooms in them, even if you agree to be searched with a microscope and a probe captured from the aliens at Roswell. Without a "Real ID" identification or a (Federally issued) passport, you're technically screwed. Lots of people have no passport, nor feel any need for a passport, which is supposed to be only for entering and leaving the country, not for basic civil rights.

    As a practical matter, though, I gravely doubt that the judges in those courtrooms would allow for an instant actually barring people from their courtrooms, leading nervous Federal security agents to ignore the black letter wording of the law, perhaps doing as you suggest and settling for giving the hairy eyeball to anyone arriving, voluntarily or otherwise, without his duly issued mark of the beast. They like giving people the hairy eyeball anyway, even without encouragement.

    I suppose with this regime sooner or later someone will get cute and claim through a lawyer that he can't answer a summons regardless from a Federal judge because the law plainly forbids him from entering a Federal building without a "Real ID" identification or passport, and he has neither, and he cannot be legally forced to break the law. That would be amusing, although probably not to the judge who would be issuing contempt of court citations.

    BTW, the Wikipedia entry is interesting and might as well be hereby linked [wikipedia.org]

    .
  • by echtertyp (1094605) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#22845344)
    California can and should go its own way. California would be a rockin' country, with all of the good things (high tech and babes) and none of the bad stuff (rust belts and religion). Heck, the California flag already says "California Republic". Make it so!
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday March 24, 2008 @12:04PM (#22845696) Homepage Journal
    "This setback for DHS is a very good and important thing. What I'd really like to see, though, is about 100,000 citizens converging on their local airport and taking it back through the sheer weight of their numbers."

    I applaude CA for this too, but, it does bring up a VERY troubling thought. Why did DHS back off their strict regulations when it came to CA, but, not all the other states?!?!?

    This is, after all, the United States of America. Isn't each state supposed to be an equal of the rest of the states? Just because one state has greater land mass and population, it is not more important or have greater rights that a small state like Rhode Island!! Hell, they set up congress with a senate to have equal representation among all states, to balance out the HOR with proportional representation, so obviously each state is supposed to be an equal in this union when it comes to rights.

    Man...we're getting further and further away from the principals this country was founded upon. I hope at least on this RealID thing...states will finally make a stand, and start maybe with this as an example, to get the Feds off their backs and assert where the true power in the US is supposed to reside....the states!

  • by sconeu (64226) on Monday March 24, 2008 @01:04PM (#22846590) Homepage Journal
    Now that's an idea.

    Sue the Federal Government over the Real ID. Send you lawyer to court. When the judge asks "Where's the plaintiff?", your lawyer states that you are legally barred from entering the courtroom by the Real ID act.

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