DHS Delays Travel Restrictions, But Real ID Still Stirs Controversy: NMA E-Newsletter #366

In last week’s e-newsletter (DHS Moves to Restrict Travel: NMA E-Newsletter #365) we updated you on Real ID and the possibility of domestic air travel restrictions for passengers who couldn’t produce an acceptable ID. The good news is that the Department of Homeland Security just announced it will hold off on enforcing any restrictions for two years to give noncompliant states a chance to fall in line.

We received a fair amount of feedback on last week’s newsletter (selected comments shown below), surprisingly most of it in favor of tighter air travel restrictions in the name of security. More than one NMA member brought up the “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” argument in reference to the privacy concerns Real ID raises.

From a California Member:

This is such BAD news. The Federal Government was given specific and restricted duties that were enumerated in our U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8. And over time they have jumped over their boundaries and have usurped the state’s and the people’s rights, becoming totally lawless! I know this is not news to you. The American people are being cooked, but like a frog, when the heat is turned up so gradually they don’t notice until it is too late.

If 28 sovereign states have not “complied,” then it is apparent that the people do not want this.

And as you point out, a driver’s license is supposed to signify that the holder is a competent driver. Here we have Mission Creep at its best.

I was looking at the requirements for an Enhanced License in Wisconsin. How does one prove they are a citizen/legal resident?  Proof of identity and proof of SSN? Would a birth certificate alone cover all of this? Since I was born here, I have never thought about how to prove this information. By the way, do you remember the days when the SS Administration said “For Social Security Purposes – Not for Identification”? Mission Creep all around us.

But since 9/11 and the implementation of the TSA, the gropers and the nudie machines, I have decided never to fly again. However, you do point out that this could impact our travel freedoms on the road in the days ahead. Enough is enough!

From Lars Holst, Alabama:

In a perfect world there would be no need to carry identification, but the world is far from perfect. Also, the requirement to identify an individual does not restrict travel unless there is a good reason to prevent the individual from doing so. Your headline and parts of your article are misleading.

If passport and/or Real ID requirements will make it more difficult for criminals or terrorists to move freely, I am all for it. As a former soldier, I have never had a problem carrying an ID card or being required to identify myself; I do so as a matter of course and proudly. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the potentially minor inconvenience of identification.

The way I see it, only individuals that have something to hide would be against such a requirement, which, by the way, should also apply to banking, voting and other similar activities. Citing privacy concerns is nothing but pure paranoia unless it is just another poor excuse for not doing anything.

Sure most documents can be falsified and nothing is 100 percent, but it would be yet another hurdle for the wrongdoer to overcome. Why make it easy for them?

Most European countries, including Austria and Germany, require their citizens to have and carry a personal identity card. I lived and worked in Europe off and on for some 45 years and was never adversely affected. Before the advent of EU and the Schengen agreement, you had to show your passport to cross from one country into another. With the Schengen agreement, that requirement fell away for the signatory countries, but those same countries have learned the hard way that such relatively minor benefits can have major adverse effects when it comes to controlling the movements of illegal immigrants, criminals and/or terrorists. Efforts to reinstitute passport control at national borders are underway.

An ID requirement does not make a totalitarian state if that is what you are worried about, and if that is your concern, begin exhorting people to vote and try to reach the broad population, not just the NMA membership. Now that would be a worthy cause.

Editor’s Note: Issues regarding Real ID, privacy, travel restrictions and government control won’t be going away any time soon. Where do you stand on the security vs. privacy debate? We’d like to hear from you.

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