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Oppose Real ID Act

Via Human Rights First:

On January 26, in the name of our so-called security, Representative Sensenbrenner introduced the REAL ID Act (H.R. 418). Yet the bill does absolutely nothing to enhance our nation’s security, instead it targets the world’s most vulnerable group—refugees fleeing persecution, including torture, rape and other horrific atrocities.

The REAL ID Act has direct life and death consequences for genuine refugees. The bill places many refugees, including those fleeing religious and political persecution, at risk of being returned to their torturers or to death. Our nation’s time honored commitment to providing safe haven for individuals fleeing persecution will be severely undermined if Sensenbrenner’s bill is enacted.

To take action to oppose these harmful provisions, go here.

“This bill does nothing to ensure America’s security,” said Cory Smith, Legislative Counsel for Human Rights First. “Instead, it targets the most vulnerable – those fleeing repressive regimes – while doing nothing to make our nation safer. The irony is that many of these refugees are America’s friends, fighting abroad for democratic reform, risking their lives to further religious liberty and combating political extremism. When they and their families face torture or death, when their claims are credible, when they have cleared exhaustive security checks, America should be opening her doors, not closing them.”

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  • Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 10:58:50 AM EST
    The Real ID, Act is a joke and it will do nothing for so called political or Religious persecution, its not about helping anyone its a control, and what is a safe haven and what is a refugee? and south American coming here for a job? a person from the mideast that may or may-not be a terrorists? and as far as nation security is concerned that is a real joke, the guys in washington who make policy are working over-time on the immigrant aid for one reason replacement of the population by any means, its called the Refugee Industry and the guys make a hell of a lot of money doing this and it is call treason, but in an empire you can't do treason when you are told to do it by the ruling class. "Civil War"( Yes, war is good and its good for the family and Jihad against Islam and Isael) the way to go! Now back down to earth, mass immigration is the real reason for THE REAL ID ACT, "Its a lobby thing" and both sides like the idea, and both sides are working to control the system and its not about people its about control.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:37:02 PM EST
    "instead it targets the world’s most vulnerable group—refugees fleeing persecution, including torture, rape and other horrific atrocities." Let's see, condemn the "horrific atrocities", but go all out in opposition to anyone who steps up and removes a regime that was propagating them and commiting genocide. Whatever.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:03:40 PM EST
    Gerry, Gerry, here's a quiz question for you: during which period did more Iraqis die? 1) The twenty months preceding the invasion. 2) The twenty months following the invasion. Not to mention that part of the cost of the Iraq invasion is that we now no longer have the military nor political leverage to do anything about Darfur, we are off-balance with regard to North Korea, and we have helped consolidate the domestic political position of the Iranian theocrats. Anyway, all that is beside the point. Do you the provisions of the REAL ID Act are justifiable or not?

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:24:13 PM EST
    All right Mel, I'll play- Let's say you and 20 or so of your girlfriends get tossed in a rape room with Saddam's thugs. After twenty months, are you going to be upset that a cop died and a couple of your friends to free you from that hell? As to your question, I'm more concerned with comparing the next twenty years. As for the ID act, I think we should have an accurate record of EVERYONE coming to this country. I am not an anti immigration nut- I just think we should be able to accurately track and screen those who wish to come here (and then the more the merrier!) I oppose National ID cards for citizens- they pretty much have that information already, so why add more bureauacracy?

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#5)
    by Adept Havelock on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:26:29 PM EST
    Gerry Owen- I'd think someone who had the "vision" to use that moniker would be able to scout the issue a bit better. If this administration was truly about spreading freedom, why are we allied with the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan? Why did they make a spy for an Islamic Totalitarian society (Ahmed Chalabi-Iran) their man to "spread freedom" in Iraq? Open your eyes. You've spent to long looking at the backend of the cav horse in front of you.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:27:39 PM EST
    Is it too much to ask what the act actually does, what it actually says? The article linked to says it has "anti-refugee" provisions and it bars people who have undergone torture and rape. Is that in the act? "No one who has undergone torture and rape may enter the country"? Somehow I doubt it. These kind of tendentious articles are not going to convince anyone who is not already a true believer. I guess I could spend time Googling it, find out I disagree with it, and write my representative ... but, nah, I'm a jus' gonna surf on out of here. You lost me.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:41:31 PM EST
    "If this administration was truly about spreading freedom, why are we allied with the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan?" For exactly the same reasons the democracies allied with Stalin against Hitler in that particular "War on Totalitarianism".

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#8)
    by Adept Havelock on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 02:56:29 PM EST
    Well said Peter James Bond. Human rights wasn't much mentioned until all the other flimsy excuses started falling apart. Also, yes Fred is in his own world, but he seems happy there. Gerry Owen- Actually, the US allied with the USSR because it was already engaged against Hitler. Hardly the case with SA, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and a host of others. Hope your vision is better on the job.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 04:59:41 PM EST
    melissa - Do you want to include the military deaths, or just the civilian deaths? One survey I saw said the civilan deaths were between 8,000 and 194,000. At that point I decided that reading any further was a waste of time. (And if you don't understand that statement, then you need help.) And while you are at it, perhaps you can explain how we consolidated the Iranian radical's positions and are off balance with North Korea. As far as Kosovo and Darfar and the Left. I find it amusing and amazing that the Left supports military action in situations where we have zero national interest, and opposes it when we do have national interest. But then I have never believed that some pigs were more equal than others. Peter James Bond - As a techie geek for years and years, I soon discovered that those who told me the subject was too complex for me too understand usually had a dim grasp of the subject in question. However, I do note you provided a couple of examples, so perhaps we can avoid calling you a snob. Perhaps.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 07:41:22 PM EST
    Stephen, if you're really interested, check Aila. Or keep reading. I don't want to sound like a snob, but it would take a while to explain the provisions of this law, especially if you're not a lawyer. It isn't what the provisions say - since you probably aren't aware of the current state of asylum law - but how they are almost certain to be applied that is VERY troubling. For example, one provision grants an immigration judge discretion (and REAL ID would make all discretionary decisions non-reviewable) to require applicants to corroborate their story, with an exception only for if the applicant would have to leave the country to obtain such evidence. What this would mean in practice is that judges could, and would, require any asylum applicant whose relatives/friends are still in the home country to go down to the police station or reeducation-through-labor camp or wherever and get their dissident relative/friend's records. If the person still couldn't get the "note from the persecutor," if it didn't prove every aspect of the story, or if the relatives/friends feared the consequences of asking for documents that would show the persecution of a relative/friend who left the country, the judge would have discretion to deny the case, and said decision could not be reviewed. Another provision of REAL ID requires asylum applicants to prove that the "central reason" that they were persecuted or have objective support for a reasonable fear that they would be persecuted is on account of one of the five grounds. This, again, requires the applicant to PROVE their persecutor's motives - and a persecutor will always be able to come up with some pretext and thus, under the proposed REAL ID regime, an anti-immmigrant judge (and there are plenty) has many ways to capriciously deny truthful applicants with no fear of reversal from a Federal Court. The worst part is that the bill seeks to remedy something that isn't a problem. Congress already set a limit on the number of people who can adjust status based on asylum, and we've never come close to hitting the ceiling and the agency grants fewer and fewer people every year. The overwhelming number of refugees come here through the Refugee Resettlement agency, and most of them are Hmong, Soviet Jews, etc. whose situations are less than urgent. Still reading? I didn't think so, and that's why TL isn't bothering non-practitioners with this stuff.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#11)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 11:09:29 PM EST
    "As far as Kosovo and Darfar and the Left. I find it amusing and amazing that the Left supports military action in situations where we have zero national interest, and opposes it when we do have national interest." Somebody's off message. Don't you know there was no imminent threat and no WMD's? It was all about Freedom, er, Democracy, this war with Oceania or Eurasia or something. Oh, and likewise, the President and his staff have never talked about private accounts; the only term that has been used and ever will be used is Freedom Accounts. Just in case you were, uh, wondering.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#12)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 11:17:14 PM EST
    Seriously, though, Jim seems to be making the "HeisenWMD" argument that the compelling national interest lay in the uncertainty surrounding Saddam's hypothetical turkey farms or something. Of course, our observation unfortunately has revealed that there were no WMD and thus a) there was no compelling national interest and information has traveled back in time, or b) Saddam's weapons exist in a parallel universe of some sort. At least that's the gist of it. Now, I'd like to see them prove that ending the genocide in Kosovo did nothing to help our interests. Heck, now that "24" is accepted as dogma among right-wingers, they also need to prove that Clinton wasn't stopping a secret plot by Al-Qaeda. Maybe the Republicans came this close to allowing a nuclear attack on New York City! Maybe that's why Hillary fainted! Amusing and amazing, no?

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:23:31 AM EST
    We sure do beat a dead horse around here, and since I've got my riding crop handy.... Why didn't they sell us the war on humanitarian reasons? Instead of the phony weapons bit? Maybe because Americans get queasy at the thought of sending American kids to die to do a job Iraqi kids should be doing themselves? Not that I believe for a minute this admin. gives a rats arse about freedom. If they did, they would give us more freedom at home.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 03:07:20 PM EST
    The AILA site is hardly a neutral place to go for immigration information: anything that would increase immigration they support. But even reading they explanation, it's clear that the only thing the Real ID act does is harmonize asylum law with all other areas of law. The trier of fact is deferred to on issues of fact, and the appellate court only deals with issues of law, except in extreme cases. If this is good enough for normal citizens accused of crimes and subject to incarceration or capital punishment, why is it not good enough for refugees? If we are going to give people a second bite at the apple, let's do it systemwide rather than only as an exception for refugees.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 07:41:06 AM EST
    You're wrong Stephen. The law currently gives Federal Courts the ability to remedy lower court decisions that are not supported on the record. This is why REAL ID represents a change. If, as you claim, inability to address a credibility finding were the current state of the law, these new provisions wouldn't be necessary, now would they? Even under the current system, most courts won't reverse unless the record *compels* reversal, and they won't vacate a decision unless something very significant in the record wasn't considered. This is a tough standard, but what the REAL ID Act sponsors want to do is prevent asylum seekers with this single opportunity to get before a court that will actually read the record in good faith and remedy a grave miscarriage of justice. And, of course AILA has an interest, but neutral? Are you in elementary school? There's no such thing as objectivity, and it seems you've already made up your opinion anyway, so go get your news from VDare, named after Virginia Dare, the first white child born in the US and thus the first true American... BARF!!!!

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 10, 2005 at 03:04:50 PM EST
    This bill impacts other individuals also -- it establishes requirements for state IDs that all states must abide by and mandates categories that must be present on state IDs. Gender is one of those mandated categories. Although no rules would be established regarding the process of changing gender markers, any national regulations regarding state IDs is potentially dangerous for the civil rights of transgender individuals living in America. Trans-Americans currently change gender markers on state-issued id in all jurisdictions. The federal government has recently been much more restrictive concerning the rights of trans-Americans. By giving this government the right to further intervene in what is clearly a states rights issue, we have to potential to harm tax-paying and otherwise law-abiding trans-Americans, ultimately endangering their safety, welfare and restricting their already limited employment opportunities. Transgender Americans all across this country have been contacting and will continue to call and write their elected representatives to educate them in opposition of this bill.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 10, 2005 at 09:20:42 PM EST
    What about tourists? Does this mean the genuine tourist who obviously would not have valid American ID be denied access to federal parks and places like the Washington Monument? So if a British businessman wanted to bring his family along for a business trip, they can't go anywhere that requires one of these ID cards. Might as well say only American tourists are welcome in the good ol' US of A. I guess I will have to go elsewhere.

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#18)
    by michael on Thu Feb 10, 2005 at 09:33:25 PM EST
    Well, I would have to agree with Gerry. It is too bad that the US govt supports governments that violate the human rights of their citizens and then lets those who can, get asylum/refugee status in the US. I wish I knew you Gerry when Clinton went into Somalia - we could have stood up together and said don't pull out! We are trying to save people! There is a whole list of countries that abuse their citizens I can't wait to invade - especially China. Boy is that war going to be a mess, but think of how many people we can save from tyranny! Shouldn't people who shop at Walmart be arrested for materially supporting human rights abusers? - I am getting off track... Just a little background on me, I was an Asylum Officer for the past 4 years (i recently quit). I love to hear all this talk about security checks and how hard it is to get asylum. We had so much pressure from management to approve cases and approved around 70% of all cases (refugee processing has even higher approval rates). I personally must have approved asylum for at least 75 families of Somalis who, guess what, HAD NO ID!!!! The clear majority of applicants claimed to enter ewi and had no id docs (most applicants in my area came from Armenia, Indian (Sikh) and Chinese). In the 9th cir, we couldn't require id docs. So here's the deal, you can get an i589, write whatever name and dob you want on it, come up with a simple story of how you were harmed on account of and bingo bango, welcome to the US - new ID courtesy of the Dept of Homeland Security. (Doesn't do much good to look in a database under the wrong name). Then the asylee can go get a driver license and social security card with the new name and dob and get on an airplane. Whoever doubts this country is great should realize in other countries you'd have to pay a bribe to get false docs, but here, the taxpayer will take care of you...

    Re: Oppose Real ID Act (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 02:18:09 PM EST
    I know a little bit about a few things. Very interesting comments on your site. There is a great deal of truth on both sides of opinion on the subject. I heard about this on talk radio today although I know a mark is coming to all; rich or poor. That will be the one of the One World Gov. Not far off.The truth of the matter should be researched for sure. How about the new rules that will emerge from perhaps the UN ?All your rights removed that framers made. Revelation, Ezekiel, that is accurate info. a.h.