RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE REAL ID ACT OF 2005 (H.R. 418)
WHEREAS, the People of the United States have always held dear the right to privacy; and the right to be free from oppressive intrusion of government into their lives;
WHEREAS, the People of the United States historically have had a strong sympathy for oppressed persons in other parts of the world who by accident of birth do not enjoy American freedoms, because many American citizens have ancestors and even contemporary family members who came to the United States to enjoy these rights and freedoms;
WHEREAS, the government of the United States is based on checks and balances where power is invested in the judicial branch to review decisions of the other branches;
WHEREAS, the Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) threatens and undermines both the right to privacy of Americans, the right and ability of persons from other countries to apply for refuge in the United States when they are persecuted in their home countries, and the authority of our federal courts to review matters brought before them;
WHEREAS, some of the ways that the Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) threatens and undermines freedoms and rights are:
1. It makes state issued driver's licenses serve the function of uniform national identification cards rather than their intended function as licenses establishing that individuals meet basic standards for the safe operation of motor vehicles and will result in an increased number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road. The Real ID Act nullifies existing carefully crafted Pennsylvania Department of Transportation legislation and rules concerning the issuance of driver's licenses. Because the Real ID Act repeals the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 which allows states to work cooperatively with the federal government, it is opposed by the National Governor's Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
2. It removes from judicial review certain discretionary judgments and actions, including the right to habeas corpus which would determine a person's right to remain in the United States and mandates the deportation of asylum seekers, and those fearing persecution and torture while their claims are pending in federal courts.
3. It raises the legal standard for asylum or other forms of relief by requiring a victim prove the central motive of their persecutor, denies judicial review where an asylum seeker cannot produce corroborating evidence, and establishes that even minor inconsistencies can be grounds to deny asylum. These standards will make it impossible for many victims of religious persecution, sexual assault or victims of domestic violence to obtain asylum.
WHEREAS, the Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) would drive millions of hard working immigrants who are essential to the nation's economy underground and expose them to increased exploitation and abuse.
WHEREAS, the Real ID is currently attached to a Senate emergency appropriations bill for Afghanistan, Iraq and tsunami relief denying a mechanism for public comment and hearings.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the Senate of the United States to reject the Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418) and the above mentioned provisions and to hold public hearings on the issues of immigration, asylum and other forms of relief addressed by the Act.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor or his designee is authorized to communicate this position to the United States Senate.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: MARCH 31, 2005