Senators Accuse Homeland Security Of Bullying States on National ID
MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY Committee have criticized the Department of Homeland Security for pressuring balky states to adopt new federally approved drivers licenses, with one accusing Secretary Michael Chertoff of “bullying” the states into compliance under a threat of blocking citizens’ travel.
“We ought to engage in a fairer, more productive negotiated rule-making with the states,” Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said. “Maybe people want to have a national ID card in their state. In my state, they don’t.”
The hearing dealt with a range of homeland security issues, from the border fence to the backlog in the naturalization process. But the discussion kept returning to the initiative for a uniform drivers license, known as the Real ID program.
“Bullying the states is not the answer, nor is threatening their citizens’ rights to travel,” Leahy said. “From Maine to Montana, states have said no.”
Seventeen states have passed bills or resolutions rejecting Real ID. More need to join the fight.
(Issue # 16, April 21, 2008)