Friday, February 25, 2005

REAL ID Act of 2005

On Feb 10, 2005, the US House of Representatives passed the REAL ID Act of 2005. Parts of this bill came from the 9-11 commission's recommendations.

I've seen articles saying things like Mohammad Atta, was in the country on a six-month visa, but was able to get a Florida driver's license good for six years. And since driver's licenses are typically all that's needed for such things as buying guns or getting on an airplane, such loopholes could prove to be a very bad thing indeed. Though I thought the driver's license was used to prove your identity so a check could be done, there's a big difference. This article can't be suggesting that people here on visas shouldn't be able to fly, could it?

But the astounding part is Section 102 which basically makes the appointed Secretary of Homeland Security the King of the U.S. border south of San Diego. No really, King. It says he has 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." And if that isn't enough, it goes on to say "no court shall have jurisdiction" on this.

That's it, slam dunk. The House is making the Secretary of Homeland Security not subject to checks and balances by either the legislative or judicial branches of government. Really. And this is in the second section of the bill. Even if you only skimmed it before voting for it wouldn't you have gotten to the second section? And wouldn't you have been interested in the title "WAIVER OF LAWS NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF BARRIERS AT BORDERS." That much appears in the Table of Contents!

All the representatives have taken a Oath to "support and defend the constitution", how is voting to wave the founding principles of checks and balances not a violation of this?!? Did your representative vote for this? I'm proud to say mine didn't.


bahiabob said...

So you're saying leave the porus borders as is? Let States like Kalifornia continue to ignore Federal Immigration laws? Don't stop the Mexican government from aiding and abeting illegal immigration? Let terrorists into America because you deny we are in a state of War with Fanatics that want to kill you and your whole family personally? What is with you guys, anyway? Let me ask you a question. How will you feel about this after a dirty bomb is exploded in your neighborhood and kills your you and your whole family? The likelyhood is running around 70% in the next 9 months so get ready now if you don't want the Head of National Security to be able to stop the Islamofacist incursions to accomplish their acts of terrorism in the U.S. Stupid is as stupid does, guy.

Howard said...

No I don't think we should leave unprotected borders alone. I'm all for building barriers and fences and even patroling them. I just don't think that to do so we have to give the Secretary of Homeland Secretary absolute authority and make him unaccountable for his actions. Really, what's so hard about building a fence and patroling it? This bill allows the Secretary to murder, embezzle, and steal to build this fence, why should it do so? And it only tells him to so south of San Diego, what about the rest of our borders? What I'd like is a better bill.

The sad fact is that I'm not sure this will help as much as it sounds like it will. We know that all 19 of the 9/11 terrorists came into this country on legal visas. They didn't sneak across the border. Yes others could, and we should fix it, but I think it would be a better use of resources to devote them to intelligence efforts and find them where they are, then to try to make our thousands of miles of border impenetrable, with all our coastline, it seems unlikely to succeed.

To use your own words, "what is with you guys?" I didn't suggest do nothing, I didn't comment on the rest of the bill, just a few bizarre parts of it. I didn't deny that terrorists want to attack us, why do you say I did? Where did you get your 70% statistic from? Is it a personal guess or are there facts it was based on? Why can't we have rational conversation amongst ourselves without resorting to name calling? And when did questioning our government become stupid, I thought it was one of the principles this country was founded on.

Gary McGath said...

I've been trying hard to comprehend how the House could vote to pass a bill that removes all legal restraints on Homeland Security. bahaiabob's comments give something of a clue, but it's very scary. Somehow a large part of the population has become convinced that the government must have police powers untrammeled by laws in order to "protect" us from terrorist attacks.

The notion that legal restraints on the government are a hindrance to our safety hasn't even been debated; it's just somehow become the conventional wisdom. In part, I think it's the American obsession with absolute safety; people think that if the government is just given enough power, it can make us completely safe. And somehow they never ask who's going to keep us safe from the government.