Homeland Security Pushes for Pass ID

Immigrant rights advocates say it's no better than Real ID.

By Leticia Miranda Sep 29, 2009

September 17, 2009

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano wants Congress to approve the so-called Pass ID, a national ID card that would contain a digital photograph, signature, immigration status, Social Security number and an individual bar code for all residents.

You might be thinking: Pass ID? Why does that sound familiar?

In 2005, Congress gave the go-ahead to the Real ID, another national ID card, which would have gathered up personal data and put it in one federal database allowing feds and just about any other official to check who’s a citizen and who’s not. Conveniently, the Real ID legislation was tacked onto an emergency fund bill for military operations in Iraq. Thirteen states passed laws refusing to comply with the Real ID act.

Napolitano has argued that the Pass ID would circumvent the costs of creating a national database associated with the Real ID. But immigrant and civil rights advocates say the Pass ID is no different. It would create a national ID system, that, for example, DMV workers would check before approving driver’s licenses and the system would have no due process protections for immigrants and others who are wrongly denied licenses.