The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports and recognizes the Constitution of the United States as our charter of liberty and the Bill of Rights as affirming the fundamental and inalienable rights of all Americans, including the freedom of privacy and the freedom from unlawful searches and seizures; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors denounces terrorism in all its forms and condemns all acts of terrorism by any entity, wherever the acts may occur, and we wholeheartedly agree that the tragic events of September 11, 2001, require the strengthening of the security, standards, procedures, and requirements for the issuance of driver licenses and identification cards - but we have major concerns with the implementation of this law, as proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and

WHEREAS, any new security measures to provide protection from terrorist attacks should be carefully designed to enhance public safety without infringing on the civil liberties and rights of citizens; and

WHEREAS, the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, Public Law 109-13, creates a national identification card by mandating federal standards for state driver licenses and identification cards and requiring state governments to share their motor vehicle databases; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act mandates the documents that state governments must require to issue driver licenses and requires them to place uniform information on every driver's license in a standard, machine-readable format; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act prohibits federal agencies and federally regulated commercial air carriers from accepting a driver's license or identification card issued by a state that has not fully complied with the act, which will inhibit air travel and cripple commerce, tourism, and the freedom of citizens to travel; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act creates a costly unfunded mandate, currently estimated to cost in excess of $11 billion to implement, and although the Department of Homeland Security announced that 20 percent of the states' Homeland Security Grant Program funds will be made available during the 2007 grant cycle, most of these funds have already been dedicated to first-response agencies of numerous cities, counties and municipalities; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act requires the creation of a 50-state database containing information on every American that is accessible to motor vehicle employees and law enforcement officers nationwide and that can be used to gather and manage information on citizens, which is not the responsibility or business of the government; and

WHEREAS, the act enables the creation of additional massive private sector databases, and it is likely that these databases will contain numerous errors and false information, creating significant hardships on Americans attempting to verify their identities in order to fly, open bank accounts, or perform many other ordinary and everyday functions; and

WHEREAS, the REAL ID Act contains onerous record verification and retention provisions that place unreasonable burdens on the motor vehicle divisions and on third parties required to verify records, while concurrently placing enormous burdens on consumers seeking new driver licenses, including waiting in longer lines, higher costs, increased document requests, and longer waiting periods; and

WHEREAS, the act will place motor vehicle division staffs on the front lines of immigration enforcement by forcing public employees to determine federal citizenship and immigration status; and

WHEREAS, the act was passed despite not receiving a hearing by any Congressional committee or a vote solely on its own merits, despite widespread opposition; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses its support for the United States government's campaign against terrorism, as well as the belief that such campaign should not be waged at the expense of the civil rights and liberties of the citizens of this country,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the legislative initiative in United States Senate S. 717 IS, which calls for the repeal of Title II of the REAL ID Act of 2005, to restore Section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which provides states additional regulatory flexibility and funding authorization to more rapidly produce tamper- and counterfeit-resistant driver licenses, and to protect privacy and civil liberties by providing interested stakeholders with guidance for negotiated rulemaking to achieve improved 21st century licenses to improve national security; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States through the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352