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05/10 [Jan. 29th, 2005|09:32 pm]
Private-Intellectual Debating Society


Senator F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.
120 Bishops Way
Ste. 154
WI 53005

Monday, 31 January 2005

Dear Senator Sensenbrenner,

In the light of the changing threat to national and international stability through terrorist activities, you are recorded as proposing a House of Representatives Bill to set federal standards for the issue of birth certificates, personal identification and driving licences.

Without wishing to delve into the quagmire of problems likely to be faced by yourself and the government over such centralisation, I would like to raise a question which I find unanswered through the limited details I have read over this proposed bill.

The issuing of a driver's licence for foreign nationals is only to be authorised once proof has been supplied that the person has the right of abode or lawful presence within the United States. These licences are then to be set to expire at the same time as a visa issued to allow that presence expires. Through this means you intend tightening up security against possible terrorists and prevent their movement should they remain in the country after expiration of the visa.

As driving licences are not required in order to move about the country - a train or bus ticket would suffice - do you also intend making it a requirement that identification be provided prior to the purchase of a ticket which allows free movement within the United States, or will there be some other form of check on the movement of all residents - foreign nationals or citizens - to ensure that an abuse doesn't occur?

It is clear, of course, that merely having the driver's licence expire on the same date as a visa expires is not going to prevent a potential terrorist from achieving his or her aim, nor is it likely to prevent them from moving around the country virtually without hindrance.

Yours sincerely,

Chmn. Pr.-Int. D. Soc.


House Judiciary Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has made good on his promise to introduce a bill containing immigration and security measures that were stripped last month from the legislation implementing the 9/11 intelligence reform bill.

HR 418, the REAL ID Act of 2005, will set federal standards for the issuance of birth certificates and other forms of identification, particularly driver's licenses. It will require all states to verify an applicant's lawful presence in this country before issuing a driver's license and will establish a uniform rule that driver's licenses for foreign visitors expire when their visa expires. The goal of the legislation is to disrupt terrorist travel.

The bill also tightens the asylum system against abuse. It provides that all terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility are also grounds for deportation. It will also close the 3-mile hole in the fence at the United States-Mexico border near San Diego.