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Released 02 February 2005  By National Immigration Forum

February 2, 2005: A vote on anti-immigrant legislation, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), is expected in the U.S. House of Representatives early next week.

The REAL ID Act (H.R. 418) would:

- Prohibit states from issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants;
- Require driver's license applicants to prove their citizenship status, and set up a system of "temporary" and "regular" licenses according to one's visa;
- Make it more difficult for real refugees to get asylum;
- Make people inadmissible and deportable for First Amendment-protected activity; and
- Eliminate environmental and other laws standing in the way of completing a section of fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

In addition, Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) has introduced a similar driver's license bill in the House. The Davis bill requires immigrants to prove their lawful presence before receiving a driver's license or state-issued identity document, among other provisions. Please see below for more information on both bills.


- Call your Congressional offices. Please make phone calls this week. Your representatives need to hear directly from you and phone calls are the most potent form of communication. Faxed letters are also important. To find out the phone and fax numbers for your representatives' offices visit:

- Send an email via the following website:

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

- Share this alert with your networks. Please encourage family, friends, and co-workers to weigh in with their representatives!

When you call, ask to speak with the person who handles immigration issues. Tell them you are a constituent and you are calling to ask that your representative oppose Rep. Sensenbrenner's REAL ID Act (H.R. 418) and the Davis bill (H.R. 368).

Tell them that:

- These bills do not make us safer, but just drive more people into the shadows;
- The intelligence reform bill that just passed in December included provisions for federal standards on driver's licenses and IDs. The Sensenbrenner/Davis bills don't even give that law a chance to be implemented and see how it is working before imposing complicated and expensive new requirements on states.
- We need real immigration reform, not band-aid fixes that do nothing to improve homeland security or address the problems with our broken immigration system.

Please let us know if you contact your legislators by sending an e-mail to


1) Real ID Act (H.R. 418)
As you may recall, Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) was one of last holdouts to passing bipartisan intelligence reform legislation during the lame duck session of the 108th Congress because he insisted on including a number of anti-immigrant provisions, unrelated to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. After a grueling and contentious debate, he agreed to drop his provisions, but secured a promise from House leadership to include them as part of the "first must-pass legislation" of the 109th Congress.

As expected, Mr. Sensenbrenner introduced the Real ID Act on January 26, 2005 with 115 co-sponsors. This bill is expected to be attached as an amendment to the tsunami relief or Iraq war supplemental appropriations bills as early as Wed. February 9th.

Various media reports also indicate that Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) may introduce companion legislation to the Real ID Act in the Senate. However, we do not know if the Senate would also consider such legislation on a fast track. The decision may rest on our ability to generate opposition to the House activity quickly and forcefully.

2) Driver's License Security and Modernization Act (H.R. 368)
On February 1, 2005, Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced the Driver's License Security and Modernization Act. This bill deals solely with driver's licenses and state-issued IDs. It requires that every state confirm an immigrant's legal status before issuing these documents.

The Driver's License Security and Modernization Act was referred to the House Government Reform committee, which Rep. Davis chairs. Introducing this legislation on its own may be a tactic to build more public support for the concept, as well as a legislative maneuver to put more pressure on the Senate, in case the Sensenbrenner bill is dropped from the appropriations bill during House-Senate negotiations.

Bill Summary and Status

REAL ID Act (H.R. 418)

The American Immigration Lawyer's Association will also post a summary on their website at

Driver's License Security and Modernization Act (H.R. 368)


Driver's Licenses
Tyler Moran, National Immigration Law Center ( or (208) 333-1424)
Michele Waslin, National Council of La Raza ( or (202) 776-1735)

Cory Smith, Human Rights First ( or (202) 547-5692)

Inadmissibility/Deportability Provisions and General
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, National Immigration Forum ( or (202) 383-5991)

Border Fence
Sean Garcia, Latin America Working Group ( or (202) 546-7010)

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