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Wednesday, February 9

HR 418: NAFTA Police State, National ID

The US is ready to implement a NAFTA police state system of social control, and barely a word will be heard of it in the media.


Common Dreams:

On January 26, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced H.R. 418, the “Real ID Act of 2005.” Although the legislation primarily addresses national security and immigration issues, Section 102(c) of H.R. 418 also includes sweeping language allowing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to exempt itself from all federal, state and local environmental laws when constructing walls, fences, roads and other barriers along U.S. borders.

Applies To All U.S. Borders With Both Canada and Mexico, Nearly 7,500 Miles In All
Although Representative Sensenbrenner describes H.R. 418 as applying only to a border fencing project in San Diego1, section 102(c)1 would in reality waive laws in all areas not only along, but "in the vicinity of", U.S. international borders with both Mexico and Canada.2 Border construction has already done extensive environmental damage to many of these areas; the potential for increased damage would skyrocket if all environmental protections were waived.

Threatens Protected Public Lands, National Parks and Wilderness Areas
The exemptions would apply to all U.S. border areas with both Mexico and Canada, including border areas that run near or through national parks, forests and monuments, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and other environmentally sensitive areas. Nearly half of the 1,950 mile U.S. Mexican border and roughly a quarter of the 5,500 mile U.S.-Canadian border lies within federal public lands. This includes more than 365 miles within the National Park system alone, running through such national treasures as Glacier, Voyageurs, Isla Royale, and Big Bend National Parks, and Organ Pipe Cactus and Grand Portage National Monuments.3 Many National Wildlife Refuges, including Cabeza Prieta, Buenos Aires and Lower Rio Grande, are also directly in the path of H.R. 418. The bill would allow the U.S. Border Patrol to build roads, walls, fences and other “barriers” within these critically important areas without having to consider or even disclose potential environmental impacts, let alone meet the requirements of federal laws intended to protect them.

Rep. Ron Paul:

What is wrong with this bill?

The REAL ID Act establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driver’s licenses. It contains no limits on the government’s power to impose additional standards. Indeed, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.

Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary.

Republican Party talking points on this bill, which claim that this is not a national ID card, nevertheless endorse the idea that “the federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification such as driver’s licenses.” So they admit that they want a national ID but at the same time pretend that this is not a national ID.

This bill establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, and physical and possibly other characteristics. What is even more disturbing is that, by mandating that states participate in the “Drivers License Agreement,” this bill creates a massive database of sensitive information on American citizens that will be shared with Canada and Mexico!

This bill could have a chilling effect on the exercise of our constitutionally guaranteed rights. It re-defines "terrorism" in broad new terms that could well include members of firearms rights and anti-abortion groups, or other such groups as determined by whoever is in power at the time. There are no prohibitions against including such information in the database as information about a person’s exercise of First Amendment rights or about a person’s appearance on a registry of firearms owners.

Daily Kos:

But -- most overlooked -- is Section 102 of this bill. It would empower the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend any and all laws in order to ensure the "expeditious" construction of a set of barriers and roads south of San Diego, to keep illegal immigrants out. It also would prohibit ANY judicial review of the Secretary of Homeland Security's decision to suspend any law. ON EDIT: While the law the bill references mentions barriers and roads "near San Diego," it does not appear to be (technically speaking) limited to that area -- but to any barriers or roads "in the vicinity of the United States border." (See comments below).

The text of Section 102 is below:

Diaries :: valabor's diary ::


Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as follows:

`(c) Waiver-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.

`(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction--

`(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or

`(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.'.

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