Real ID will prevent identity theft. There are 300,000 victims of identity theft in North Carolina each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In fact, identify theft has increased by nearly 800 percent over the past 6 years. Real ID would help prevent identity theft by making state licenses more tamper proof.
Real ID will prevent terrorism. The federal Real ID Act was passed due to the ease with which the 9/11 terrorists were able to obtain multiple state IDs, which were then used to obtain pilot’s licenses and to board aircraft. Eighteen of the 19 hijackers possessed at least 30 different driver’s licenses and IDs issued by several different states. Had Real ID been in effect, those hijackers unlawfully present in the United States would not have been able to obtain or use a valid identification card.
Real ID will discourage illegal immigration. The U.S. Government Accountability Office cautions that “the use of fraudulent documents by aliens is extensive.” Real ID will not only make it more difficult for illegal aliens to obtain fraudulent documents, but also help prevent visa overstays by foreign visitors. Enforcing Real ID will thus help protect jobs for North Carolina workers.
Real ID will prevent illegal aliens from obtaining an N.C. driver’s license. Over the past two years, members from both parties have boasted about making North Carolina’s licenses more secure. These reforms, however, have been implemented as part of the Real ID initiative. Without the need to comply with Real ID, North Carolina would likely still be distributing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
The prevalence of identity theft appears to be growing. Moreover, identity theft is not typically a stand-alone crime; rather, identity theft is usually a component of one or more white-collar or financial crimes. … Another pervasive category is the use of fraudulent identity documents by aliens to enter the United States illegally to obtain employment and other benefits. The events of September 11, 2001, have heightened concerns about the contributory role that identity fraud plays in facilitating terrorism and other serious crimes.U.S. General Accountability Office
Real ID will save taxpayers money. Identity theft costs U.S. citizens $64 billion annually and, proportionately, costs North Carolinians some $2 billion a year. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Real ID will cost an additional $8 a license. Here in North Carolina, complying with Real ID will cost about $30 million annually through 2017. The state, however, will not have to bear this entire cost because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made $360 million available to the states to help implement Real ID.
North Carolina is already nearly in compliance with Real ID. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) plans to be “materially compliant” with Real ID by December 1, 2008. The DMV, in other words, has already expended significant resources to comply with Real ID. This includes hiring a team of 36 fraud investigators to catch instances of attempted identity theft. It would be a waste of taxpayer dollars to reverse course now. Moreover, given that the N.C. Department of Transportation has publicly stated that it had no difficulty finding $22.5 million to repave sections of I-40, it is clear that the money for Real ID could be taken from the existing transportation budget.
Real ID will permit North Carolinians to travel and work more freely. State licenses and identification cards that fail to con¬form to Real ID standards will not be accepted as valid for the purposes of boarding a plane or entering a federal facility. Every state must implement Real ID standards before December 31, 2009, and complete enrollment of persons less than 50 years of age by December 1, 2014. States then have an additional three years to issue Real IDs to persons age 50 and up. If the state refuses to comply with Real ID, it will be more difficult for North Carolinians to travel freely throughout the United States. Fewer North Carolinians will also be eligible to compete for federal jobs.
North Carolina will reduce fraud within the DMV itself. This past July, fraud investigators shut down two DMV offices in High Point and Thomasville. Likewise, several employees in the Albemarle office are under investigation for issuing hundreds of fake IDs to illegal aliens. Under Real ID, all licenses will be issued from a central location so as to prevent fraud. Likewise, Real ID makes it more difficult for hackers and DMV employees to steal or mishandle identification information. All staff involved in the verification process will be fingerprinted and must pass a criminal background check.
A majority of North Carolina voters support Real ID. According to the May Civitas DecisionMaker poll of registered voters, 88 percent support “North Carolina sharing information with other states to help verify the identity of a person applying for a state driver’s license or identification card.” In other words, most voters support what is said to be the most controversial aspect of Real ID. Support for the other goals that Real ID will help accomplish is even more widespread.
Real ID makes sense for North Carolina. Many myths abound regarding Real ID: that it is an unfunded mandate (not true, DHS is paying part of the cost); that Real ID requires RFID technology (not true); that Real ID requires a national database (not true); that Real ID requires the collection of additional personal information (not true); or that Real ID will make it more difficult for homeless persons to obtain an ID (again, not true; cf. G.S. 20-37.7(d)). Behind the myths, the reality is that Real ID will save money, protect jobs, and make the citizens of North Carolina safer.
For more information, contact: Dr. Jameson Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-834-2099
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