Steve G.

Present Your Papers, Comrade!

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Libertarian on June 20, 2008 at 11:34 am

One of the old-fashioned expectations that most Americans had was absolute freedom of movement within the country, without government checkpoints, “paper checks,” or other such nonsense.

Alas, in the era of the New Security State, the “internal passport” once mocked by Americans as a Soviet abomination is becoming a reality for numerous Americans.

For example, if you fly domestically, you used to be able to fly without presenting a government-approved form of ID — albeit with the caveat that you’d be subjected to “more extensive searches.” That option ends this Saturday, when a government-issued REAL ID-style driver’s license or other “official ID” will be required to travel domestically by air.

That’s right — without your government-issued mandatory ID (which often involves the taking of fingerprints, as in Texas, and may soon require biometric information as well), you may not travel long distances domestically.

Lest some Ron Paul states’ “rights” advocates step in, it’s important to note that local government is getting even more draconian than the feds. In numerous cities across the country, including theoretically federally-administered Washington DC, entire neighborhoods are being closed up and blocked — with all traffic being directed through a central checkpoint. Individuals must present a form of ID to “prove” they “belong” there, and their entry and exit is left to the sole discretion of the police. Don’t have your “papers?” You’re not getting in (or out).

These situations beg a few questions to be asked of the security statists:

1) The federal government has instituted a massive, draconian entry and exit requirement for all foreign nationals, requiring photographs and fingerprints to be taken at entry. These new requirements, we’re told, “keep us safe from terrorists and criminals.” So if no terrorists or criminals may enter the country due to this incredible system, why are individuals *already in the USA* subject to these internal passport controls? Didn’t the magical draconian border controls already shut all dangerous people out of the United States?

2) How does an ID check “enhance security?” If one has a piece of plastic with a name and photo on it, how does that ensure that he/she isn’t going to attempt violent behavior? Conversely, who are individuals who value their privacy in terms of movement and activities suddenly “suspicious?”

3) Why should we trust local, state or federal government to protect our privacy rights, when you’re already using these internal passports to violate our constitutional right to freedom of movement between states — not to mention our Fourth Amendment rights to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures? What form of “probable cause” can be invoked to shut off entire sections of a city, or the country, unless an individual undergoes a draconian search and interrogation?

  1. Reminds me of Mario Cuomo in his last days of governor saying that he wanted to set up border guards on the New York / New Jersey border so that New York could collect NY sales taxes on goods bought in New Jersey.

  2. Great, and I was just so excited that I flew without ID on Monday last week.

  3. I’m reminded of the border station at Anza-Borrego (well within US borders) that I must pass every time I get the yen to bird Mecca and the rest of the Salton Sea.

    Ack, they don’t care about liberty… they don’t care about anything but the control of power.

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