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Puerto Rico: Real ID is really intrusive

Puerto Rican bloggers are calling attention to the government‘s latest deed, the application of the Real ID Act to the island's drivers. The Real ID, which has come under fire by many states in the mainland US, is one of the measures implemented by President Bush's administration to “fight terrorism”. According to Wikipedia:

The REAL ID Act of 2005 is U.S. federal law which imposes certain security, authentication and issuance procedures standards for the state driver's licenses and state ID cards, in order for them to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, the Secretary of Homeland Security has defined “official purposes” as presenting state driver's licenses and identification cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights, entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.

Opponents believe the problem with the Act comes from the fact that the required documentation reveals too much about the person for comfort, although the law says that states are not obliged to issue a Real ID in their territories as long as they issue a clause in their licenses stating that each particular license issued by that state is not valid for federal matters and that passengers of transportation regulated by the federal government will be required to submit to additional screening procedures.

What worries many bloggers in Puerto Rico is that all the data required to get the license is going to be stored in a central database that will be linked to the databases of other states and the Federal Government. This has raised the eyebrows of people concerned about their privacy. Thus, Anthony Romero, the executive director of ACLU, stated:

Real ID is an unfunded mandate that violates the Constitution's 10th Amendment on state powers, destroys states’ dual sovereignty and consolidates every American's private information, leaving all of us far more vulnerable to identity thieves.

The act has been rejected by most of the 50 states, from Arkansas to Wyoming, but on July 7 2008, Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá announced that all 15 Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works Driver's Services Centers will implement a new system complying with the Real ID Act.

Ivonne Acosta Lespier, a noted Puerto Rican historian, said in her blog (es) Sin Mordazas:

En Puerto Rico bajo este gobierno no se puede siquiera pestañear porque le cuelan a uno cosas increíbles. En contraste con muchos estados que se han opuesto al Real ID y por eso hubo que posponer la puesta en vigor del reglamento, nuestro colonizado Gobernador (que se las da de “soberanista” cuando le conviene), ha aceptado con entusiasmo ser partícipe del espionaje del Homeland Security…

In Puerto Rico under this government you cannot even blink because they stick you with incredible things. Contrary to many other states who have openly opposed the implementation of the Real ID, our colonized governor (who boasts of being a sovereigntist when the need be) has accepted enthusiastically to be a participant of the Homeland Security spying…

The action taken by the governor of Puerto Rico has been seen by many as an act of subservience. According to the satirical blog (es) El Ñame

Acevedo Vilá Se Lesiona La Espalda Eñangotándose Ante Los EEUU Al Implantar El “Real ID”

Acevedo Víla [Puerto Rico's governor] injured his back while bowing before the US when Implementing the “Real ID”

So far, the bloggers who have written most extensively about the subject have been Myrisa and Z. Teruoc in their blog (es) En el país de los ciegos, where they sum up the surprise of many in the island:

Mientras muchos estados le dicen no al Real ID, el ELA se coloca a la vanguardia del espionaje de Homeland Security. Confieso que ingenuamente creí que por buen tiempo no nos tocaría, confiada en que, dada sus posiciones neonacionalistas, el gobierno PPD dilataría este asalto del poder federal sobre la esfera local.

While many states say no to the Real ID the ELA (Puerto Rico) takes the vanguard of the Homeland Security spying. I naively confess that for a while I believed this was not going to apply to us, hoping that, given the governor's neo-nationalist positions, the PPD [current party leading the island] would stall this assault of the federal powers over our local sphere.

8 comments

  • It’s a shame – every one of our top officials gets one of these cards too. If they just recognized that their identity could get stolen by any terrorist they fear so much from this insecure international database they might rethink Real ID. They might even repeal it.

  • Mo

    This is a pretty important issue that a lot of Americans don’t know about (the Real ID)… however, I recommend you don’t use Wikipedia as a source. Even if/though the information you provide via Wiki is true, it still hurts the credibility of the story because the Wiki entry is subject to change by any reader.

  • Eric

    Perhaps REAL ID is intrusive, and maybe not. But the gist of the government signing on probably has something to do with PR being an Island, and without a REAL ID, contrary to this article, you can’t board a plane – not just that you get higher TSA scrutiny, but can’t even fly. How many Puerto Ricans would that anger? And with a multitude of Dominicans, Cubans and who knows who else arriving on the shores of the Island, shouldn’t official identifications be solid and protected against counterfeit?

  • Counterfeit and identity theft will never end. Sherlock Holmes in one f Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s novels said “What one man can hide another man can find”. For the moment being the government will succeed in slowing identity theft (which is not the real purpose of this law) but as soon counterfeiters and identity thieves get the gist of how the system works it’s all going back to square one, except that this time the thief will have your personal information which can lead him/her directly to your home.

  • Rob

    Eric,

    DHS states that all states are either in compliance or have been given extensions as of several months ago. Extensions that last through an administration change and potential legislation change.

  • ronbothunter

    WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPPOSES YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE!!

    Puerto Ricans, whether they are called Independents (independentistas), Patriots or Nationalists or Freemen, who desire to be free, must always know that the federal government, here in the States has no “subject matter jurisdiction” over the person, case or location and should be challenged to proof it. These are magic words to learn when in Federal Court for desiring freedom for your/our Country.

    You won’t be told this in court but: All jury members, judges, attorneys, and employees working in federal court, must reside in federal territory to legally be a federal juror or touch your case or they can be commercially sued, disbarred and financially ruined for violating your constitutional rights etc.

    Your god given right to be free is not wanted by the USA, it will oppose your desire for independence and freedom, because the Federal USA is a profit based Corporation.

    The Federal Government is a District of Columbia “Corporation”, as are all the States of the USA. These Corporations were formed for the benefit of the real owners. Since June of 1933, everything since then, is under Contract law or commercial law, aka Admiralty law, to benefit your masters in power.

    The Federal Government owns Puerto Rico as an ASSET, because it is a slave colony—whether you like the idea or not. But the Federal Government takes orders from those who own and run this (Corporation) Country, but are not of this country. The International Bankers, who really own the corporations called the USA, will let PR be free, only if enough real men of Boricua blood wish to be free, by reserving their rights under the Constitution. Their books will be adjusted and we will be free.

    The answer to your freedom lies in your Constitutional rights — To win –You must always reserve your constitutional, commercial rights and know what they are and how to do so.

    The USA has been the biggest alien invaders the world has ever known. In order to win your freedom, you must oppose them by knowing that their weakness lies in their violations and in their treasons to the Constitution and to the common law and common law remedies.

    The majority of Americans have no idea that the USA has killed more Latinos, than Hitler Killed Jews, The USA has supported Traitors, Dictators, Gringitos, Butchers, Sociopaths, and Megalomaniacs who were supported and kept in power by these monsters, sucking up to the Anglo Alien Invaders.

    Latin America has had enough of this form of genocide of Latinos. That includes other African, Asian etc. countries that lost millions of innocent people from USA aggression.

    I want to vomit every time some ignorant fools says: “If you don’t like it here –go home”.

    If the Alien Invaders would get out of each and every Latin Country and stop interfering in our affairs—it would make sense to say such a stupid thing. But unless the (Feds) Snakes get out of Latin America-we have just as much right to be here!!! So, grin and put up with it—this was once our land.

    A Puerto Rican without a desire for independence and/or freedom from alien control has no heart and soul of a man.

    The fact that the public does not know that we are NOT free, makes no difference, to the desire to be free. The PR that wants Statehood is a Gringito, who has no soul of a man left in his traitor’s heart. Freedom is happening all over the world and yet we allow Gringitos to kill our right to be free.

    A Gringito is a non-Anglo THING, IT is not really a “person”, just like a mass murderer is more like an animal than a person, who internally is so inferior, that he desires to be what he can not be—thus Gringito means little gringo.

    The Gringito is like an Uncle Tom to blacks or a collaborator and traitor to many others. To us he/she is all three and much worst. “It” is the enemy of freedom all thru out HUMAN history.

    We allow the Alien Invaders to kill, harm, abuse, rape, and scam us and yet the Gringito wants to give our Country away.

    This abuse must end. No man or woman is a real Man or real woman who is too scared to fight for their souls and be free. If you listen to the Gringito, you will lose your soul.

    Thru out eternity Humanity owes its freedom from slavery, ONLY to brave souls who fought for your right to be free.

    The fight will NOT succeed if you don’t fight the Gringito enemy/traitor/collaborator at home first. He is there next door and claims he is a real man and tries to give you many excuses of why PR can’t be a free Country.

    To give away your/our/my Country is not a right of alien invaders, visitors or foreigners with NO Puerto Rican Blood.

    The right to vote on THIS ISSUE should NOT be given to NON-Puerto Ricans.

    The fight for the independence of Puerto Rico is now non-violent and will be won in the hearts of real men around the World.

    The Ronbothunter,

    A proud freedom loving Puerto Rican.

    All Rights Reserved

  • Robert

    It is a shame that the governor of Puerto Rico is supporting such a measure when many states a repealed it. It kinda makes me think why he would support this measure. Could it have anything to do with his personal investigation of illegal activities? Are the feds going to go easy on him if he supports this anti-constitutional measure. What a shame, maybe Puerto Rico shouldn’t be a state after all. Please write the governor and the senate of Puerto Rico to repeal this anti-constitutional measure.

  • miriam kurland

    i am trying to help a man from peurto rico, get a new kind of ID from peurto rico. he is currently homeless and needs his ID in order to apply for housing and other services. area social service providers have been trying to guide him, but he keeps hitting brick walls. i told him that i would go online to see what i can find out. does anyone know where/who/how he can proceed to get this new ID. he is in the willimantic, ct. community… currently at our homeless shelter. thank you. miriam

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