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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Real ID Act is downright wrong

    Those in Arizona who turned 21 in the past few months or are already above the age of 21 are aware that, due to a recent change in the law, Arizonans are now required to rapidly change the orientation of their driver’s licenses within 30 days of their birthday. Without this change, it is no longer a valid form of identification to get sloshed at a bar or to purchase alcohol to consume at home. Supposedly, some establishments won’t even accept a vertical ID on someone’s 21st birthday.

    If this seems concerning — considering the $12 fee that accompanies changing a small piece of plastic from vertical to horizontal — Arizonans are going to actually be angry come January. Arizona decided to not comply with a federal law passed in 2005, the Real ID Act, and actually legislated its rebellion.

    The Real ID Act was first created in an effort to combat terrorists and other nefarious types from acquiring fake IDs proving U.S. citizenship, and it updated IDs to include social security information and other credentials that prevent the mass-manufacturing of fake identification.

    Arizona’s refusal to comply with the law is going to lead to masses of Arizonans with restricted or compromised access to a variety of places. As of January, Arizona driver’s licenses will no longer be a valid form of ID for all federal buildings with public access, and Arizonans will have to produce a passport or other federal form of ID to be allowed into secured federal buildings. These buildings include places of work, like federal buildings and courts.

    When this bill was originally passed, the government was throwing money at states in the form of federal grants to comply and complete the requisites of the bill. It’s been nearly 10 years, that money is now gone and we as a state still vehemently refuse to participate in what I consider to be a completely practical action — updating our IDs as a way to deter crime and illegal activity.

    Arizona, however, loves to be completely ridiculous. It’s like the federal government is the parent, and Arizona is still in its teenage “I’m going to actively defy you” stage. We had funding for what would have been a decidedly good move for the state and its citizens and instead decided to completely screw over our populace.

    I, for one, love to travel and am going to be super ticked when 2016 rolls around and the Transportation Security Administration scoffs at my driver’s license. As the deadline for Department of Homeland Security evaluation approaches, Arizonans, and residents of the 10 other states plus American Samoa that refused to comply, should be concerned about their lessened citizenship.

    Without proper identification in the U.S., it is incredibly hard to get things done. I couldn’t get my financial aid processed, board a plane or tour a nuclear power plant, much less obtain security clearance at the Pentagon.

    Although the revoked access to federal flights would not be effective until 2016 and without proper review from the correct authorities — the TSA, the DHS and the Federal Aviation Administration — I’m still a bit stressed that our state has decided to completely shirk its responsibility to give its citizens accurate and appropriate identification.

    I just can’t get behind having to carry my passport or other government-issued identification card everywhere, just so I can access flights I paid for or enter a federal building.

    Pull your shit together, Arizona. This isn’t middle school, and nobody thinks you’re cute when you say “no” just to prove you can get away with it. There are consequences for your defiance, and in this case, they fall on your citizens’ backs. Fix it.

    —Nick Havey is junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him @NiHavey

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