Opposition to a requirement for a national identification card helped torpedo the immigration bill killed in the Senate on Thursday.
On Wednesday evening, senators voted to delete language in the immigration bill that would force employers to demand the “Real ID” cards from new hires. Some of the immigration bill’s supporters had insisted that the ID provision remain in place as a way to identify illegal immigrants, and with that provision removed they were no longer as willing to support the overall bill, according to CNET News.
“The proponents of a national ID in the Senate weren’t getting what they wanted, so they backed away,” said Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute who opposed Real ID. “It was a landmine that blew up in their faces.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which also opposed Real ID, said the identification card requirement was a “poison pill that derailed this bill, and any future legislation should be written knowing the American people won’t swallow it.”
Even though the immigration bill appears dead, the Real ID Act is still in effect, CNET News notes. It requires that starting on May 11, 2008, Americans will need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security or use almost any government service.