It seems somehow fitting that the state that launched the Civil War is once again leading the charge to defy the federal government — though in this case the stakes are far less deadly. Rather than bullets flying, you can expect a lot of curses. And even then only at airport terminals.
The state of South Carolina joins a handful of other states — such as Montana, home of rugged individualism and the Unibomber — in so far refusing to comply with Congress’s REAL ID Act, which sought to strengthen the security measures of state driver’s licenses.
I’m sympathetic to the protests of states that claim Congress passed yet another unfunded mandate. Congress has a rich record of Demanding Action! without appropriating funding to pay for said action. Nonetheless, I am puzzled by the bogus claims of some governors that the law is an infringement of privacy rights.
Invasion of privacy? Really?
During my tenure at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one thing that was very clear was that fake documents, including driver’s licenses, is one of the most valuable resources in exploiting immigration laws. It’s also one that makes identity theft so much easier. Ask the Secret Service. So if privacy is really their concern, these governors ought to be lining up at DHS’s door.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, with the recalcitrant states having about a month to file for an extension to comply with the REAL ID standards or face the consequences. Or should I say — force their residents to face the consequences. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the Associated Press that he figured the people of Montana “would be proud to walk through that line.”
Uh huh. Do they know about this pride? Nothing kills ones sense of pride like screaming toddlers being turned away at the gate of the airport. Gov. Schweitzer might come to learn that he confused pride with fury, and that fury might be heading his direction.