UC Davis was host to the REAL ID Town Hall Meeting, the nation's only public forum on the issue of REAL ID on May 1st, 2007. Labeled as a "Town Hall Meeting," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) organized the event and were among the groups present.

The event was publicized, though poorly. While the Davis Enterprise on Thursday, April 26 had a front page article, and on Sunday, April 29 it was the Sacramento Bee's Metro Section front page, the The California Aggie barely mentioned this UC Davis hosted event. It spared only a few lines about the forum on the second page under News Briefs in Monday, April 30th's paper. It only graced the front page with a full article after the meeting.

The lack of proper campus publicity for this event was seen when at 9:08 a line formed with 2 people. At 9:30, when the doors opened to the public, there were about 10 people from the public waiting to get in. At 10:50 one could leave Freeborn and return without seeing anyone else enter because hardly anyone was going to the event. Most students passing by Freeborn had neither any idea of what was going on nor did they know anything about REAL ID. A group of students, in an attempt to inform the public, were handing fliers to people as they passed by outside of Freeborn.

An Example Document

It was claimed by the panelists, as shown by their slide, that the REAL ID would thwart terrorism. The image used in the slide was a picture of one of the 9/11 terrorists and his falsified document. The panelists did not address how this new program would stop terrorist acts committed by people born in the US, which is more common than those committed by immigrants.

The open forum had three panelists and one moderator:


After passing security outside Freeborn, people entered and could pick up the agenda and a packet of 3 pages. Real_ID_Handout.pdf

Page 1: The Agenda Page 2: Meeting Instructions/Protocols Page 3: Supplementary Information Page 4: Comment Form

Timing of the Meeting

Most students, faculty and community members were unaware of the significance of May 1st. Not only is it International Worker's Day, the 4 year anniversary of Bush's declaration that the war in Iraq was over, and the date that last year 5 million immigrants took to the streets opposing legislation that was targetting them (chosen because May 1 is IWD), but it is also the Presidentially proclaimed unobserved holiday of Law Day and Loyalty Day.

Not only is May 1 significant on the national and international level, but for these reasons became significant on the Davis campus. On Tuesday May 1, UCD was scheduled to have a rally and march. The mobilization had been planned quite in advance and was announced even prior to DHS' announcement of the forum.

People were outraged by the lack of notice that the discussion was being held, and not least at UCD. The short-notice of the nation's only open forum regarding REAL ID resulted in poor attendance. One reason being people just didn't know (including professors who study immigration issues). Another reason being that many groups and individuals who would have gone had they known of the event were already mobilizing in Sacramento and San Francisco for May 1 rallies as was done nationally and internationally that same day.


The poor attendance was commented on by public participants. The DHS' failure to publicize the event was named as the cause. The Podium The Panel

Town Hall Banner

The Audience

About Real ID

The REAL ID Act of 2005 is Division B of an act of the United States Congress titled Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231 (May 11, 2005).

This law seems to be designed to place additional barriers against illegal immigration into the country, however at the same time it creates a back door, in essence it orders the creation and implementation of a National ID. States that refuse to comply with the requirements of the Real ID Act, and citizens of those states will not be allowed to use their driver's license as a form of ID to board a commercial flight, open a bank account (One which is FDIC insured), or enter a federal building or any other business with the federal government.

Some states such as Montana, Maine, New Hampshire and Missouri have rejected, or are in the process of rejecting this law. Many groups are encouraging the citizenry of other states to write their representatives and legislators to simply nullify this law by inaction, so far there has been little effort by California in this direction.

"More than 600 organizations have expressed concern over the Real ID Act. Organizations such as the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the American Library Association the Association for Computing Machinery, the National Council of State Legislatures, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Governors Association are among them" (CNN article).

Controversial Elements

Some elements made it into final law and other elements were removed.

  • PO Boxes would not be acceptable as your address. Among those affected are people whose lives are in danger and shouldn't have their addresses released such as judges, police officers, and domestic violence victims. The homeless would also be affected because many use PO Boxes. They would need this new ID card to get the federal social services provided to them.
  • Documents submitted to the DMV that are required to obtain the RI such as your birth certificate, bank statement (used for proof of residency), current US passport, etc. would be scanned into the database. A national database with this scanned information is just another source for identity theft to occur. Not only from hackers, but from people on the inside as well.
  • Requiring states to link their driver license databases.
  • Require states to sign the newly created Driver License Agreement (DLA) which is a major invasion of our privacy such as sharing driver databases not only within the United States & Territories but as a start with Canada and Mexico as well. A good way to help identity theft. The DLA was created by the The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) which is composed of executives from state motor vehicle departments and law enforcement agencies.

The requirement for states to sign the DLA below was removed before the final legislation was approved by President Bush but some states will still include it when deciding to deal with the Act. The DLA should specifically be mentioned to be excluded from becoming law in any of the states based on the points of

  • Access of driver license information by foreign and corrupt officials from other countries will cause more problems of identity theft
  • Foreign countries will not have to comply with the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1998
  • Any information concerning the DLA at the AAMVA web site is protected by username/password combination to keep it from public scrutiny. So much for open government. This organization affects public policy but yet, their doors are closed to public scrutiny.



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2007-05-01 19:06:15   So are there videos of this? I was thinking of going to it but I forgot. I'm glad California is standing up for states rights. —NickSchmalenberger

  • You're supposed to be able to view the archive at this site, but it currently reads "Thank you for your interest in this live webcast: This live session has concluded. Please check back shortly to view the archive." —AlyssaNelson
    • note, you are apparently required to register in order to view the video. ~DavePoole
      • omg. that is ridiculous!!! i was wondering what the situation was on the internet business. thanks for providing the link and giving an update. —JessicaRockwell

2007-05-05 20:47:04   in re: The homeless would also be affected because many use PO Boxes, is this stated somewhere or speculation? According to federal law (or at least I believe it to be fed law) you must have a permanent physical address in order to have a PO Box. I know the post office requires you to show proof of your physical address before they will rent you a box. —DavidGrundler

  • That is honestly a good point.. how would the homeless receive mail.. they could just of course use someone's unlocked box as a sort of dead drop I guess... I know they can register to vote, noting they can use a street corner nearest to residing location, very interesting. ~DavePoole

2007-05-06 08:22:33   Anybody can rent a mail drop (i.e., a Mailboxes Etc box). You're supposed to address it with PMB, but nobody does. I get mail to mine with a simple #150. There are also some towns that specialize in long term USPS mailboxes. They cater to RVers and lifestyle home-free individuals who live on the road. Atop all of this is also the fact that plenty of churches and charities receive letter (non-package) mail for the homeless, which would seem to apply in this case. —JabberWokky

  • ppl who live on houseboats also use po boxes. —JessicaRockwell
  • Trans: Individuals whom take residence on floating domiciles particularly take advantage of Postal Office Boxes. ~Sir. David Poole

2007-09-19 14:22:36   I'm glad you mentioned Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in this article. And I'm not even sure a Democrat-controlled Congress *would* repeal this, as many of them signed on to stuff like this in a knee-jerk reaction to the threat of terrorism.

Hey, is anyone out there in the Davis community interested in starting up a Ron Paul in 2008 club? —DougBarbieri