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REAL ID webinar NILC

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REAL ID webinar NILC Powered By Docstoc
					IMMIGRANTS, DRIVER’S LICENSES AND THE REAL ID ACT: Requirements, Implementation, and Options Available to States
Joan Friedland National Immigration Law Center Immigration Advocates Network Webinar December 15, 2006

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Summary of Provisions in REAL ID
• While the REAL ID ―debate‖ in Congress was about immigrants, the law affects every licensed driver. • Examples of non-immigrant REAL ID provisions
 Applicants must present four forms of identification.  States must verify each identity and source document with the issuing agency.  Driver’s licenses must meet new data storage requirements (e.g. common machine-readable technology, mandatory facial image capture, digital images of identity source documents, requirement to retain copies of source documents).  States must meet federal security standards for locations that produce and store driver’s licenses and monitor security clearances and regulate training for persons who produce, manufacture of issue driver’s licenses.  States must provide electronic access to all other states to information contained in the state’s motor vehicle database.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Impact on State Residents
• Rural residents may not be able to list a P.O. box on their license because it is not their address of principle residence. Elderly or poor applicants, or applicants who live in rural areas might not be able to obtain acceptable source documents, or have their source documents verified. Press accounts have highlighted stories of elders who were born at home or who have birth certificates from hospitals that no longer exist. DV victims who list a P.O. box on their license as a matter of personal safety might not be able to do so. Residents who currently can renew their licenses online or by mail might be required to take long trips to driver’s license offices in order to present documents that satisfy the REAL ID Act’s requirements. Snowbirds from another country would not be able to use their current driver’s license to prove identity and may only have foreign documents to prove identity. Residents who can’t meet the ID requirements will be left without an ID to vote or obtain benefits or services (e.g. disability, retirement, etc).

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National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Benefits of Driver’s License Issued Regardless of Immigration Status
Example: New Mexico • New Mexico made a decision in 2003 to allow all drivers, regardless of immigration status, to apply for a driver’s license. According to press accounts, the new law has contributed to –
 Lower uninsurance rates.  Lower premiums.  Reports from law enforcement officials that fewer motorists are fleeing after accidents.  More licensed and trained drivers

• If REAL ID were implemented in New Mexico, it would dramatically reduce the number of licensed drivers and likely increase incidents of fraud since many applicants will not be able to fulfill the REAL ID documentation requirements.
National Immigration Law Center December 2006

REAL ID Immigrant Restrictions
• Under REAL ID, immigrants must be in one of 9 immigration statuses to be eligible for a driver’s license. Only 4 of these immigration statuses qualify a person for an unrestricted license, including:
1. 2. 3. 4. Lawful Permanent Residents (―green card‖ holders); Conditional permanent residents; Asylees; and Refugees.

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National Immigration Law Center December 2006

REAL ID Immigrant Restrictions
• The remaining 5 categories of immigrants may only receive a ―temporary‖ license, including immigrants with:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. a pending asylum application; a pending or approved application for temporary protected status (TPS); a valid, unexpired nonimmigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa status; deferred action status; and a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

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All other immigrants are ineligible for a driver’s license under REAL ID.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

REAL ID Immigrant Restrictions
• The REAL ID requirements will exclude lawful immigrants, including:
 Applicants for non-immigrant visas as victims of trafficking or other crimes, or because they cooperated in criminal or terrorism investigations.
 Immigrants who have been paroled into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons  Immigrants who have been granted ―withholding of removal‖ because their life or freedom would be threatened in their home country.  Battered immigrants who are awaiting action on petitions filed with USCIS under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  People who live in the U.S. under an order of supervision because they have been ordered deported but cannot be deported to their home countries, because of political or other reasons

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Temporary REAL ID License
• A temporary license:
 Must state that it is ―temporary‖ on the face of the license.  Expires with the holder’s authorized stay in the U.S. (or one year if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay).

• DHS may further limit the validity of the temporary DL in order to provide for periodic confirmation of principal residence address and lawful presence in the U.S. (e.g. make all temporary license only valid for one year)

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Temporary REAL ID License • The creation of a temporary license that expires with the holder’s status will be administratively burdensome.
 The differing expiration dates may require changes to the driver’s license database/systems.  It will also require training for frontline personnel so they understand the complexity of the different classifications of immigration statuses, the documents acceptable to prove those statuses, and how to determine expiration dates.

• The creation of a temporary license that expires with the holder’s status will be costly.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Additional REAL ID Provisions that Affect Immigrants
• Foreign documents would not be accepted as proof of identification (except passports).
 The requirement would exclude documents that are currently accepted in many states (―matricula consular‖, foreign birth certificate, and foreign driver’s license).  The requirement will also make it difficult for immigrants to meet the requirement of submitting a photo identity document with their ―full legal name.‖

• Use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) to verify immigration status required.
• Alternatives to SSN no longer accepted (except verification that the applicant is not eligible for an SSN).

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Implementation Options
• States do have options. It is important to consider impact of each on a state’s residents.

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Three possible options include:
1. 2. 3. Not implementing REAL ID Implementing the requirements on the state ID card (and not on the license) Creating a non-REAL ID compliant license

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 1: State doesn’t implement REAL ID

• Why the preferable option
 Growing momentum across the country. States could help overturn the law.

 Would be able to preserve eligibility rules (including immigrant eligibility rules), save money, protect residents’ privacy.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 1: State doesn’t implement REAL ID

• How the option would work:
 States would continue to issue driver’s licenses under current law.  License would not be accepted as proof of federal identification (federal buildings, planes, court houses).  State’s residents would have to use alternative identification for federal purposes, such a passport or military ID. Could also possibly use employer ID, student ID; however, there aren’t official rules regarding what is acceptable to get on planes or enter federal buildings.  Obtaining a passport likely easier than obtaining a REAL ID license.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 1: State doesn’t implement REAL ID

• Potential benefits:
 Privacy. The personal information of drivers is not required to be included in a database that is linked with other states, and digital images of source documents wouldn’t be stored and made available to other states and federal government.  Cost savings to the state and taxpayers.  Customer service. Under REAL ID, the waiting time to receive a license will likely increase as each source document presented to obtain a license must be verified with the issuing agency.  Public safety. States could continue to issue licenses to those individuals to ensure that all drivers are licensed.  Protecting Against Discrimination. States that issue the same license to all drivers can help to ensure that certain drivers are not singled out or treated differently, based on assumptions about their country of origin or immigration status.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 1: State doesn’t implement REAL ID

• Issues to consider:
 People would not be able to use their license as identification when traveling by airplane, entering federal buildings, and other federal purposes, and would need to use alternative forms of identification such as a passport or military ID.  If residents move to a state that has implemented the REAL ID requirements, prior state’s license would likely not be recognized as proof of identification for the purposes of obtaining a new license.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 2: Implement REAL ID requirements on state ID and not on license
• How the option would work:
    State’s driver’s license policy would not change. The REAL ID Act requirements would be implemented on the state ID card. License would not be accepted as proof of federal identification. State residents who need identification for federal purposes would have to purchase a state ID.

• Potential benefits:
 State could preserve the immigrant eligibility rules for licenses.  If no political will to reject REAL ID, option could serve as a compromise.  State ID less expensive to consumers than a passport (though probably more difficult to obtain because of documentation/verification requirements and more expensive for state to implement).

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 2: Implement REAL ID requirements on state ID and not on license
• Issues to consider:
 People would not be able to use their license for flying commercial airlines, entering federal buildings, and other official federal purposes, and would need to obtain a state ID card or use alternative forms of identification such as a passport or military ID.  Cost to state to implement requirements on state ID card would be significant (though possibly less than implementing on the license because fewer people would purchase the state ID).  Increased cost to residents who need a license and ID card.  Residents who just need a state ID will have a higher burden to meet in obtaining an ID than residents who just need a license.  IT issues involved with potentially creating two systems (one for residents with ID cards that is accessible by the federal government and other states, and one for residents with driver’s licenses that is not).  Potential privacy concerns re: other states’ access to the state ID database.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 3: Creating a non-REAL ID compliant driver’s license
• How the option would work:
 Assumes that state is implementing the REAL ID Act on driver’s licenses.  State would issue an alternative/non-REAL ID compliant license to residents who are unable or unwilling to obtain REAL-ID compliant licenses (immigrants and citizens).  Alternative license would have to state that the license can’t be used as ID for federal purposes.  Provision likely became part of REAL ID because TN already has a ―certificate for driving‖ and UT has a ―driving privilege card‖ that allows certain residents to drive, but the document isn’t acceptable as a form of ID  Significant drawbacks to creating a ―second-class‖ license.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 3: Creating a non-REAL ID compliant driver’s license
• Issues to consider:
 Assumes implementing REAL ID requirements on license, which raises cost privacy, public safety, etc. concerns  Discrimination against those who hold a certificate. TN has experienced the following:
— Immigrants have been treated unfairly in court, at the driver’s license testing centers, and in other situations where identification is required. — Certificate-holders have had difficulty obtaining auto insurance, renting a car, opening a bank account, and renting an apartment. — At driver’s license testing centers, clerks have improperly denied licenses and certificates to eligible immigrants and U.S. citizens because they don’t understand how to read immigration documents or proof of U.S. citizenship. — A study conducted by the University of Tennessee Law School found ―rudeness and hostility, number skipping, false assumptions and inconsistent acceptance of documents‖ at driver testing centers. — Clerks have confiscated important immigration documents because they incorrectly decided that the documents were false.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Option 3: Creating a non-REAL ID compliant driver’s license
• Issues to consider:
 Many people may not apply for the certificate for fear that they will face discrimination or be reported to immigration authorities. This will increase the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers.  Insurance companies may charge higher premiums or refuse to issue insurance policies (experience in TN).  Confusion among law enforcement officials re whether the license is a form of ID for traffic stops, reporting crimes, etc. Policies that discourage contact with the police undermine effective law enforcement.  Decisions about who can apply for the non-REAL ID complaint license? If just undocumented immigrants, concerns that DMV database can be used for immigration enforcement purposes. Could allow everyone ineligible for a REAL ID license to obtain the document or others who want to ―opt-in‖ because of privacy concerns, cost, etc.  Costly to create a third document (in addition to DL and state ID card). Could just implement on state ID card.
National Immigration Law Center December 2006

Additional Actions the State Could Take
• Creating a task force to study the issue. • Passing a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act.

National Immigration Law Center December 2006