Hoyer Statement on Real ID Act

For Immediate Release:

February 10, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today regarding the Real ID Act:

"Two months ago, Congress approved comprehensive measures to reform our intelligence systems.  In that bill, Congress outlined new ways to coordinate our intelligence agencies, included measures to control our borders, strengthened visa application requirements, set standards for drivers licenses and found common ground in many other concerns raised by the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 families.

"I am proud that after careful deliberation, Congress rejected numerous measures that some sought to include in that bill that would have prevented individuals fleeing persecution to find a safe haven in the United States.

"The U.S. has always been a beacon of hope and we must continue to guard the light of liberty for those who are oppressed or displaced.

"That bill was adopted with strong bipartisan support and I am proud it is now the law of the land.

"Proponents of the bill considered by the House today, however -- the so called REAL ID Act -- use national security and terrorism arguments, and invoke the 9/11 attacks to repeal some of the provisions we adopted just two months ago.  And they seek to add controversial provisions that were rejected back then. 

"Most of the issues raised by the proponents of this bill are not about border security; they are immigration-related issues that need to be discussed in the context of broad immigration reform.  Unfortunately, proponents of the REAL ID bill are not seriously considering the complexities of our immigration system, the needs of our businesses, and our responsibilities to American and immigrant families.

"The REAL ID bill imposes unfair and unreasonable requirements on people who are escaping torture, persecution, and systematic abuse, and would deny legitimate-applicants the opportunity to find a new home in a new land. 

"I oppose the REAL ID bill because it is too broad, goes too far and slams the doors of hope and safe haven on refugees and asylees.  That is not what this Congress and this nation should be about.  I call on my colleagues to oppose this bill and to begin a serious, bipartisan discussion on immigration reform."

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