Procuring ID Should Be Tougher,Not Easier
I will probably be called a racist or anti-immigrant for this, but I really believe that making it easier to get a valid New York State driver's license will make it more dangerous for residents, not less, as the governor keeps arguing at every turn.
There are those who do not like the Real ID law and want to see it changed. The fact of the matter is that the federal government is probably not going to change the law anytime soon and that New York State is going to have to live with it, just as everybody else will have to live with it.
In light of that, let's take a look at the reality.
Spitzer's plan has no requirement for the applicant to have a social security card, to prove that he or she is a citizen or a legal immigrant. Rather, he would accept a valid foreign passport and an oath that the applicant is ineligible for a social security card. The flaw in that plan is that even state officials acknowledge the fact that there is no way to check the validity and the authenticity of the foreign documents with any certainty. The Real ID Law, which is voluntary until 2013 and then becomes mandatory, requires a photo ID that includes full name and birthdate. In order to get that document, an applicant needs a social security number or official proof that he or she is ineligible for a number.
Which seems safer? It is clear that the Real ID process gets closer to insuring that the person with the license is really the person he or she purports to be.
While supporters of the plan say that opponents are fear-mongers when they say the New York State licenses will no longer be good for getting on airplanes and getting mail from the post office, there is a grim reality in that argument.
The feds could easily declare that the driver's licenses of states that do not comply with the act are no longer good for federal purposes.
That would force those who want to board airliners to provide another form of identification, such as a passport.
It seems to me that there are other ways to compromise, but the governor and immigrant-rights groups do not want to even discuss those alternatives.
One is a two-tiered system that allows for both driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards. Another is to identify illegal immigrants on the documents.. We should at least talk about the alternatives.