Published December 3, 2015 by Mike Maharrey (Tenth Amendment Center)
We’ve all come to expect a certain level of hassle at the airport, including groping, peeking and the confiscation of our shampoo, but the Department of Homeland Security bullies appear poised to up the ante for residents of several states.
The TSA has threatened to stop accepting driver licenses from Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington state this year.
These five states remain non-compliant with the requirements of the REAL ID Act and don’t have pending waiver extensions. It appears increasingly likely the feds will try to make an example of residents in these reticent states to prove once and for all you shouldn’t defy Uncle Sam.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 and Pres. G.W. Bush signed it into law. The act essentially mandates a national ID system that states must implement.
Constitutionally, the federal government lacks any authority to create a national ID. But the feds won’t let something like constitutional limitations stop them from doing what they want. Congress simply ignored its delegated powers and implemented national ID standards anyway.
But things didn’t go smoothly after passage of REAL ID. States rebelled for several reasons, including privacy concerns and the fact that Congress didn’t provide any funding for the mandates it expects states to implement. Many states simply chose not to act. Missouri, Maine, Oklahoma and others passed laws expressly prohibiting compliance with the national ID standards.
REAL ID continues to be an abject failure in terms of implementation.
Under the law, all states were supposed to be in compliance by 2009. But the federal government found coercing unwilling states wasn’t as easy as anticipated. Instead of forcing the issue, the feds issued waiver after waiver.
“There is an impasse,” Edward Hasbrouck a privacy advocate with the Identity Project told the New York Times. “There has been a standoff for more than a decade now. The feds have limited powers to coerce the states in this case.”
Ten years after passage more than half the states in the Union have not complied with REAL ID. Of the 28 not in compliance, 21 have extension waivers until October 2016. Extensions for South Carolina and New Jersey remain under review.
That leaves five states smack-dab in the middle of the TSA’s crosshairs.
State driver licenses will no longer be acceptable as identification to get into federal buildings and military bases as of Jan. 10. So far, the DHS has not announced a schedule for enforcement at the airport. Once it does, it will give a 120-day notice before the TSA actually stops accepting IDs at the checkpoints.
“As we continue the phased in enforcement of the REAL ID Act, the consequences of continued noncompliance will grow with each milestone,” the DHS said in its letter to Missouri.
The federal strategy here is pretty clear: crack down on five states and intimidate the others into falling in line. By limiting its initial action to just a few states, the feds can keep the public outcry to down to a dull roar and shift the blame onto five state governments. The DHS can limit the backlash by cracking the whip on residents of only five states rather than taking on all 28 non-compliant states at the same time.
Here we have a classic bullying tactic: rough up a few kids and awe the others into falling into line
Here’s what the governments in these five states should do: tell the feds to go pound sand.
And the other 23 non-compliant states should do the same. Let the feds try to keep more than half of the American population off airplanes and see how that works out for them.
If all 28 states refuse to comply, I would bet dollars to donuts the feds will eventually back down. That’s been the modus operandi for 10 years.
Yes, facing down the bully will create some inconvenience for people. But if we ever intend rein in this out of control federal government, we have to be willing to make some sacrifices. The long-term consequences of allowing the federal government to control our lives far outweigh the inconvenience of having an ID refused by some federal bureaucrat.
The American colonists didn’t face down the mighty British Empire by knuckling under every time the King or his cronies made some kind of threat or inconvenience them. They stood their ground.
States need to stand their ground and refuse to implement this unconstitutional national ID system.
It appears at least some Missouri officials recognize the gravity of the situation. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder issued a statement calling DHS actions related to REAL ID a violation of the 10th Amendment.
“That’s an overt threat, to which I would say to the federal government, ‘we in Missouri are not interested in compliance with this kind of federal overreach.’”
He went on to express concern over the privacy ramifications of a national ID system.
“The real-world implication of a nationalized ID system, with biometric photo data that allows for long-distance identification and tracking of residents, is disturbing. That’s why in 2009 the Missouri General Assembly passed HB 361 to stand athwart the federal government’s continued encroachment on Missourians’ liberties.”
But other state officials lack Kinder’s resoluteness.
Oklahoma Sen. John Sparks and Sen. Kay Floyd recently prefiled Senate Bill 865 (SB865) for the 2016 legislative session. The legislation would repeal a law prohibiting state participation in Real ID, opening the door for the Sooner State to come into compliance.
The people of Oklahoma should emphatically reject this pathetic subservience to illegitimate federal authority.
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