Secure Identity Documents: Administration's Next Step in Dismantling Immigration Enforcement, Says FAIR

Jul 15, 2009, 18:04 ET from FAIR

WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's testimony by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in support of S. 1261, Providing Additional Security in States' Identification Act of 2009 (PASS ID), is the latest calculated step by the Obama administration in its relentless campaign to dismantle the immigration enforcement capability of the country, charged the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

PASS ID would replace and reverse many of the important protections of the 2005 REAL ID Act and undermine the nation's ability to prevent another terrorist attack. REAL ID implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The Commission cited failure to ensure that secure driver's licenses and IDs were only issued to persons who could prove their identity presented a dangerous vulnerability to our homeland security.

A comprehensive analysis by FAIR of PASS ID exposes at least 11 critical areas in which the bill would substantially weaken both enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and endanger homeland security. PASS ID:

  • Abolishes uniform standards for issuing secure identity documents.
  • By narrowing definitions, eliminates many sites that would require secure ID for access.
  • Allows passengers to board commercial aircraft without secure IDs.
  • Would allow multiple IDs to be issued to the same individual using aliases.
  • Would allow certain illegal aliens to obtain a secure ID.
  • Allows DHS to certify IDs issued to illegal aliens, such as the Matricula Consular card, as secure IDs.
  • Eliminates requirements that states validate breeder documents.
  • Would allow states to issue secure IDs to people who fail to "present necessary documents."
  • Could lead to disclosure of private information.
  • Would make it difficult to distinguish a secure ID from a non-secure one.
  • Would provide financial incentives for states to issue secure IDs to illegal aliens.

(For a detailed analysis of each of these loopholes see

"When it comes to our nation's security, PASS ID would turn the clock back to September 10, 2001," warned Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "The main beneficiaries of this legislation would be terrorists, people seeking to evade our immigration laws, and state bureaucrats who continue to resist implementing a 21st century system for establishing people's true identities."

While REAL ID could be fully implemented by May 2011, PASS ID would restart the clock and delay even this weak effort at document reform by years, if not decades. Moreover, PASS ID would not reduce costs to the states, which has been a major complaint by governors and state legislatures.

"Today we saw the Secretary of Homeland Security working to undermine two of her department's most critical missions: protecting the security of the nation and enforcing laws against illegal immigration," said Stein. "The Obama administration has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to sacrifice the interests of the American people as it dismantles our immigration enforcement capability. With its support of a bill that scraps real progress in securing vital identity documents, this administration has shown that they are even willing to risk America's homeland security in pursuit of their political goals."

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.