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Who’s the Boss? DHS’ Chertoff has “Identity” Issues with Congress

LatinaLista — When it comes to national leadership in the country, do elected officials outweigh appointed officials?

The natural assumption would be — yes, but Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), arguably one of the hardest jobs in the nation right now, is flexing political muscle that seems excessive to someone appointed to his position.
The latest showdown for Chertoff has to do with the Real ID Act.
A bipartisan group of congressional leaders have asked Chertoff to postpone the May 11 deadline for requiring states to comply with the new rules for issuing state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Chertoff refused.

Seeing that it was Congress who passed the Real ID Act in the first place and they are the ones who are now asking for a postponement of its implementation rings a warning bell.
The lawmakers who asked for the postponement are: Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire; plus Democratic Sens. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, and Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana.

“These regulations raise disturbing constitutional issues regarding the ability of some citizens to travel freely and access their federal government,” the lawmakers wrote in a March 12 letter to Mr. Chertoff.
States have until March 31 to request an extension to enroll in the program to set standards for determining which state-issued identifications are secure enough to be accepted by the federal government, which determines whether those IDs are good for such purposes as boarding commercial flights and entering federal buildings.

The cost of the program to implement it is said to be about $4 billion. The National Governors Association said they will comply with the program — as long as Congress supplies $1 billion in initial funding.
So, what’s the big deal about this Read ID Act? For starters, it was created (supposedly) to protect against terrorist entry into the country. Also, there are a few amendments slapped on for good measure amending the Immigration and Nationality Act. After all, undocumented immigrants and terrorists are interchangeable labels in the eyes of the DHS.
But the Real ID Act isn’t going to impact undocumented immigrants and terrorists, well, why would they care? The people who will suffer will be us.
A few highlights of the bill that nobody has paid much attention to and clearly illustrates why Chertoff is practicing how to flex his political muscle right now include:

(Sec. 102) Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security (the Secretary), in the Secretary’s sole discretion, to waive all laws as necessary to ensure expeditious construction of certain barriers and roads at the U.S. border. Prohibits courts, administrative agencies, and other entities from reviewing the Secretary’s decision or from ordering relief for damages alleged to have resulted from such decision.
Expands the definition of “terrorist organization” to incorporate a broader range of underlying activities.
Makes this section applicable to removal proceedings instituted, and grounds of inadmissibility occurring, before, on, or after the enactment of this Act.
(Sec. 105) Bars inadmissible arriving aliens from seeking judicial review of removal orders through habeas corpus, mandamus, or other extraordinary petitions.
(Sec. 202) Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting State issued driver’s licenses or identification cards unless such documents are determined by the Secretary to meet minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features.
(Sec. 203) Requires States, as a condition of receiving grant funds or other financial assistance under this title, to participate in the interstate compact regarding the sharing of driver’s license data (the Driver License Agreement).
(Sec. 205) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to assist States in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.
(Sec. 206) Gives the Secretary all authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title. Gives the Secretary of Transportation all authority to certify compliance with such standards.
Authorizes the Secretary to grant States an extension of time to meet the minimum document requirements and issuance standards of this title, with adequate justification.

It would appear the Real ID Act should be renamed: “The Real Power in Washington Act.”
And if his refusal of the Congressional lawmakers’ request was not enough, Chertoff had to add something more to show he meant business:

“Congress has mandated that there will be very real implications after May 11 for residents of states whose leadership chooses to reject Real ID compliance,” Mr. Chertoff said.
“Showing up at the airport with only a driver’s license from such a state will be no better than showing up without identification,” he said.

Funny he should be telling members of Congress what Congress did.
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

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  • Stentor
    March 27, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    If Congress cares that much, perhaps they should pass a revision or repeal of Real ID. What are we paying them for if all they’re willing to do is send letters to Chertoff?

  • Publius
    March 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    “Seeing that it was Congress who passed the Real ID Act in the first place and they are the ones who are now asking for a postponement of its implementation rings a warning bell.”
    Seven out of 535 members of congress write a letter to Chernoff and you say that that should be sufficient for DHS to revoke the will of the remaining 528? Get real, Marisa, you’re deluded and desperate if you think that your illegal aliens are going to get a reprieve from the Real ID Act. Anyway, Chernoff works for the Executive Branch, which is simply enforcing the law as enacted by Congress. Suggestions from congressmen are far from a binding expression of the will of the people. Interference from Congress without legislation to back it up is simply a violation of the separation of powers.

  • Evelyn
    March 29, 2008 at 12:56 am

    One of the racists commented on efforts being made by some of the Idiots in Kansas trying to pass racist laws a few weeks ago. He stated that every state in the union was going to do this. Well, they didnt. Kansas racists were unable to pass their racists laws. The only thing that got passed were laws already on the books. LOL! Here is a comment from one of the news editors.
    Palmer is the one frightening Kansans
    “Citizens of the state are demanding we do something because they are frightened. They know we are a sanctuary state,” state Sen. Peggy Palmer, R-Augusta, said during the Senate’s seven hours of debate Wednesday on illegal immigration. “They are coming here and taking our jobs and using our welfare dollars.” Fortunately, the majority of Palmer’s colleagues recognize the truth — that undocumented workers are taking mostly jobs that citizens don’t want; that employers and the state economy need more workers, not fewer; that illegal residents cannot and do not collect welfare; and that this is the federal government’s problem to fix. As for Kansans being “frightened” — if so, it’s because of the fear-mongering rhetoric of Palmer and others.
    Well so much for the theory that every state was going to be stupid enough to buy what you racists are peddling. HA! HA! HA!

  • Frank
    March 29, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists, racists,racists, racists, racists. Sound familiar?

  • Frank
    March 29, 2008 at 10:12 am

    50 states aren’t going wake up all at once and isn’t all going to happen over it night. It is going to happen however all over this nation. It is correct that they aren’t going to be stupid enough to buy what the racist, traitorus, ethnocentric’s are trying to peddle. The jig is up!

  • Evelyn
    March 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Next year when CIR is passed, you will be history. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

  • Frank
    March 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. At least not YOUR kind of CIR. You and yours are among the minority in this country. Congress listened to the majority before and they will again and the states will continue to do what they are doing to protect themselves.

    April 1, 2008 at 10:57 am

    ain’t gonna happen. Obamas not going to touch anything that resembles playing racial politics. Hillary will avoid it on grounds that she will not want to appear weak on national security. McCain already got burned by attempting a blanket amnesty, but now has realized the error of his ways after being hammered by the Republican party and American citizens. Where is all this hope for CIR coming from? It’s not going to happen.

  • Frank
    April 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    EOT, you are correct. The pro-illegals think they have CIR in the bag with the three remaining candidates. Well they have been hoodwinked and don’t even know it. Besides the president has very little power on immmigration issues as was evidenced by Bush trying to push amnesy and he failed. It is congress who decides on such issues and they know where the majority of Americans stand on it and that is why it failed in congress last year.

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