Beginning in January, the Department of Homeland Security will begin the phased implementation of a national identity card.
Your ID may still look like a state-issued driver's license, but the federal government will require all state IDs to be fully compliant with DHS standards under the REAL ID Act by May 2017.
Some of those standards may seem like a good idea at first blush. For instance, to obtain a compliant ID, a person will supposedly be required to submit a valid birth certificate or proof of citizenship or legal permanent residence.
Considering the porous nature of the U.S. border, this sounds like it may help with the illegal alien problem.
Also, the IDs will have new security features to prevent counterfeiting, they will contain your personal information on both a magnetic strip and a bar code, and the IDs will only be issued in state facilities where all the employees have undergone security and criminal background checks.
This will cause obvious problems in states such as California, where one of the worst-kept secrets is that if you know the right person at the DMV, you can get an ID regardless of validating documents, stories of buying IDs at flea markets are plentiful, and there is a brisk trade in birth certificates and baptism records.
But the DHS push for verified IDs may actually add to the pressure on Congress to pass amnesty for illegals, rather than lead to enforcement of our immigration laws. The Democratic Party is desperate to inflate its voter base with the millions of illegal immigrants in this country, and it won't stand for law enforcement officials getting in the way of securing power well into the future.
Another feature of the national ID cards is that they will be compliant with the standards of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
On its surface, compliance with the WHTI will allow you to travel throughout North, Central and South America, including the Caribbean and Bermuda.
The WHTI will be phased in first for air travel, then for ground and sea travel.
Both the WHTI and the national ID are the results of laws passed by Congress in 2004 and 2005 in response to recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
The big catch to having a WHTI-compliant national ID, though, is that not only is it yet another route for tracking you and putting your personal information in the government's spying apparatus, but any person who doesn't have their ID won't be able to travel anywhere legally.
The TSA will prevent you from air travel, with trains and boats soon to follow. Of course, driving anyplace without a license is a good way to get tossed in the slammer already, and hidden in the DHS's security protocols are plans for establishing freeway checkpoints and roadblocks where you will be asked for your papers.
Should any state not comply with the federal regulations, its entire population will be barred from travel until it gets in line.
The day of the free-wheeling American will soon be over. All for your convenience and safety, of course.
by Tad Cronn