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The REAL ID Act of 2005 will severely weaken the U.S. asylum protection regime, raising the bar to obtain asylum in this nation beyond the reach of bona fide asylum-seekers. Women fleeing coercive family planning policies in China; Christians fleeing persecution in Burma, China, and the Middle East; and Cubans, Chinese, Colombians, and North Koreans fleeing political oppression in their countries are a few examples of refugees who will be impacted by this legislation.
Besides weakening our asylum system, the REAL ID Act imposes strict new standards for the issuance of state drivers licenses, including strict eligibility standards which require proof of legal status in our country. This is a short-sighted policy which will not make our nation safer, but our roads more dangerous.
Similarly, the REAL ID Act of 2005 grants unprecedented authority to the federal government to waive all laws in favor of the construction of barriers along the southwest border of the United States. The erection of barriers at our border will not break the spirit of migrants desperate to find work to support themselves and their families or disrupt the demand for labor by U.S. employers. It could, however, lead to more death along our border.
Despite the assertions of its proponents, The REAL ID Act of 2005 will not necessarily make our nation safer. It will, however, harm asylum seekers and immigrants. The USCCB will monitor how this harmful and ill-conceived legislation is implemented and work toward its repeal in the years ahead.
Comprehensive reform of our immigration laws which provides legal status and legal avenues for entry for migrants would provide a more humane and compassionate solution to our broken immigration system. We urge the Administration and Congress to enact immigration reform expeditiously.
The READ ID Act, signed into law by President Bush as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act on May 11, 2005, included many harsh provisions which will have an impact on asylum-seekers and immigrants to this country. Its provisions are summarized as follows:
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