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House Judiciary Committee chair introduces terrorist travel legislation

[JURIST] US House Committee on the Judiciary [official website] chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. [official website] introduced legislation Wednesday that contains provisions restricting terrorist travel that were dropped from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 [PDF text], which was enacted in December [JURIST report]. According to Sensenbrenner, the proposed Real ID Act "seeks to prevent another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel." Sensenbrenner says that:

The Real ID Act will... establish... a uniform rule for all states that temporary driver's licenses for foreign visitors expire when their visa terms expire, and establishing tough rules for confirming identity before temporary driver's licenses are issued.

The Real ID Act tightens our asylum system that has been abused by terrorists with deadly consequences. It will finish the 3-mile hole in the fortified U.S./Mexico fence near San Diego. And it will protect the American people by ensuring that all terrorism-related grounds for inadmissability are also grounds for deportation.
Read the Judiciary Committee press release. The legislation has been quickly opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website], who calls the bill an "unnecessary assault on immigrants." The ACLU says the bill is an attempt to federalize the issuance of ID cards, which is a power normally delegated to states. The ACLU also disagrees with a proposed measure allowing government officials to demand written corroboration of asylum claims, saying that the measure is contrary to international law. According to the ACLU, "Federal law already gives officials ample discretion to deny improper asylum claims, and asylum applicants are subject to much more extensive scrutiny than virtually any other pool of non-citizens seeking to come to the United States." Read the ACLU reaction to the Sensenbrenner legislation.

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