In a Cato TechKnowledge newsletter issued today, I’ve updated the world on the status of the REAL ID Act.
One of the more interesting recent developments is the decision by New York Governor Elliot Spitzer to break the link between driver licensing and immigration status. He and the Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner announced the policy September 21st.
Delinking driver licensing and immigration will reduce unlicensed driving, uninsured driving, hit-and-run driving, insurance costs for legal drivers, and roadway injuries. Linking driving and immigration status is a requirement of REAL ID, and Spitzer’s move is another nail in the coffin of this national ID law.
In my TechKnowledge piece, I laud the governor’s action as follows:
Spitzer is not willing to shed the blood of New Yorkers to “take a stand” on immigration, which is not a problem state governments are supposed to solve anyway. It’s a welcome — and somewhat surprising — move, to see a Democrat and law-and-order-type former attorney general resist mission creep in a state bureau and hold fast to the federal system devised in the constitution. But he’s done the right thing. Thanks most recently to Governor Spitzer, and to state leaders from across the ideological spectrum, REAL ID is in collapse.
Update: New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) gets it wrong. His plan for REAL ID and a “non-forgeable” biometric immigrant card would mean mass surveillance of law-abiding citizens, and a system that’s easy for illegal aliens to defeat – simply by acquiring a REAL ID. Ya gotta think about this stuff!