Confidential #8 – 3/20/05

Bulletin #8
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.


The Real ID Act is one more frightening piece of repressive legislation, aimed at gutting the human rights of both immigrants and citizens alike, in the bipartisan tradition of the Patriot Act. Among many other provisions, it would set up a national electronic identification system, and make it illegal for states to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. (More info on the Real ID Act below.)

Last week, the House of Representatives attached the Real ID Act to President Bush’s bill to appropriate an additional $81 billion to his war fund. The next day, the House passed both bills, by a vote of 388-43, with the support of San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats’ minority leader. The Real ID Act and the war appropriation now go to the Senate.


“Join immigrant communities to tell Senator Diane Feinstein that we won’t tolerate her denying driver’s licenses to our communities. Join us for a vigil in front of Feinstein’s house.

“Senator Diane Feinstein came out in favor the Real ID Act, which, among other things, will deny undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses at a national level. If this law passes (it has already passed the US House of Representatives and will be considered by the US Senate in the next few weeks), it will destroy our efforts to obtain driver’s licenses for immigrants here in California…

“The vigil will include speakers, music, candles, and a public display of driver’s licenses on Feinstein’s front lawn.

“For more information, please contact Renee Saucedo, (415) 553-3404.”

Monday, March 21
Vigil begins at 5 PM at Feinstein’s house.
(At 4 PM, there will be vehicles to transport people
from Centro del Pueblo to Feinstein’s house.
Please bring your car to assist in transportation.)

Feinstein’s house: 30 Presidio Terrace (near Arguello)

Centro del Pueblo: 474 Valencia Street (at 16th Street)

· Make it illegal for states to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

· Expand the definitions of “terrorist” activity, by creating broad “guilt by association” standards that will prevent many immigrants and their families from gaining legal status.

· Make many procedural changes that make it much more difficult for refugees to get asylum in the US.

· Waive all environmental, labor and civil rights laws that would prevent the building of a 14-mile fence along the San Diego-Tijuana border.

· Implement new high-technology ground surveillance techniques on the border.

· Give unprecedented authority to bounty hunters to “pursue, apprehend and detain” immigrants in deportation proceedings.

One blatant example of the outright racism in the Real ID Act is a provision that requires judges to deny asylum to refugees who have a bad “demeanor.” The act also bars the reversal of a judge’s denial of asylum based on the lack of documentary evidence. Decisions about legal status and asylum would extend to an applicant’s spouse and children, even if they are wholly innocent of the alleged wrong-doing of the applicant.

The Real ID Act’s provisions go far beyond its anti-immigrant posturing. As is often the case, anti-immigrant hysteria is being used as a wedge issue to attack the rights of citizens as well.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims that the Real ID Act sets up a “de facto national ID card.” The act requires that states issue driver’s licenses and identification cards which include “machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements,” including Social Security numbers. Regulations defining these requirements will be written by the Department of Homeland Security. States will be required to link their motor vehicle department databases to the feds. All applicants will be required to prove their citizenship or immigration status.

Welcome to the new USA — the United States of Apartheid.


National Immigration Forum:

American Immigration Lawyer’s Association:

“House backs major shift to electronic IDs,” C/NET: