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Thursday, February 10, 2005

House Passes REAL ID Act, 261 - 161

One for the good guys...

House Approves Sensenbrenner Terrorist Travel Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House today by a 261-to-161 vote approved legislation introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) aimed at disrupting terrorist travel and bolstering border security. H.R. 418, the Real ID Act, includes a number of anti-terrorism provisions the House passed last year in response to the 9/11 Commission's work, but were dropped from the law enacted in December due to Senate opposition.

Chairman Sensenbrenner stated, "This unfinished business from last year aims to prevent another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel. The House and the Bush Administration understand the Real ID legislation passed today will address a number of vulnerabilities in our border and homeland security efforts, including states issuing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. We must ensure that terrorists no longer can exploit these weaknesses. For instance, under the Real ID Act, no longer will a Mohammed Atta receive a 6-month visa and then attain a drivers' license good for 6 years."

The Real ID legislation is expected to be included on the first must-pass legislation this year. Yesterday, the Bush Administration announced it "strongly supports" H.R. 418 in a Statement of Administration Policy.

Highlights of Real ID:

* Strong security standards for the issuance of drivers' licenses -

- proof of lawful presence in the U.S.;

- all states must comply, to eliminate weak links in domestic identity security;

- tough physical security requirements to reduce counterfeiting;

- drivers' license expires when an alien's visa expires.

* Tighten asylum system abused by terrorists -

- allow immigration judges to determine witness credibility in asylum cases.

* Closing the 3-Mile Hole in the fortified U.S./Mexico Border Fence Near San Diego

* Inadmissability and Deportation of Terrorists -

- keep terrorists out of U.S. by ensuring all terrorism-related grounds of inadmissability are grounds for deportation.



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