Congressman Rohrabacher Praises the Passage of the REAL ID Act

May 5, 2005
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Washington, May 5, 2005 - “I am pleased to support this vital legislation,”said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, “which not only supports our troops protecting us overseas, but contains the vital REAL ID act to protect us at home.”The House bill provides $30.85 billion for operations and activities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in fiscal year 2006, an increase of $1.37 billion above the fiscal year 2005 enacted levels, excluding $2.5 billion in advance appropriations for BioShield, and $1.3 billion above the President’s request. The REAL ID component of HR 1268 would:Enforce Strong security standards for the issuance of drivers' licenses

  • All states must require proof of lawful presence in the U.S. if their drivers' licenses are to be accepted as a form of identification to a federal official. To board a commercial airplane, enter a federal building or a nuclear power plant are among the official federal purposes. States must comply within 3 years of law's enactment.
  • The agreement clarifies that states can issue a second tier of drivers' licenses (approach taken by Tennessee and Utah) that would not be valid for official federal purposes and that do not have to meet the issuance standards. The terms of these cards would be a maximum of one year.
  • Temporary driver's license issued to a foreign visitor by a state must expire when the visitor's visa expires, with a maximum term of one year.
  • Does not create a national ID card or a national database. Does compel the states to improve the data security of information that states already hold about their citizens, and requires the states to improve the physical security of the buildings where data is stored.

Asylum Reform

  • Tightens the asylum system abused by terrorists by allowing immigration judges to determine witness credibility in asylum cases. In assessing witness credibility, requires the trier of fact "[c]onsider[]. . .the totality of the circumstances, and all relevant factors."
  • With respect to statements, the trier of fact is to "[c]onsider[] the circumstances under which the statements were made." Provides that corroborating evidence is not required if the applicant does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain it.

Closes the 3-Mile Hole in the fortified U.S./Mexico Border Fence Near San Diego

  • Provides the Secretary of Homeland Security the ability to waive laws necessary to complete border fences and roads to improve national security. Allows for Federal judicial review of Secretary's actions, but only for constitutional claims such as takings of private property, so legal action cannot be used as a tactic to delay completing the fence.

Judicial Review of Removal Orders

  • Provides reforms to ensure the prompt removal from U.S. of terrorists and criminal aliens, after the proper judicial review. By restoring judicial review to its former, defined, limited forum, all aliens ordered removed by an immigration judge cannot endlessly appeal their cases to stall being deported and stay in the United States.

“These common sense reforms have been long overdue,” said Congressman Rohrabacher. “I am very pleased the House has done the right thing for America today.

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