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Michigan Commission on Spanish-Speaking Affairs urges U.S. Senators to oppose REAL ID Act

The Michigan Commission on Spanish-Speaking Affairs (COSSA) is urging Michigan ’s U.S. Senators to oppose the REAL ID Act (H.R. 418), which it believes would negatively impact Latinos and other minorities.

“Many in the Michigan Hispanic community have expressed their concern to our commissioners about the potential consequences this legislation could have at the local level,” COSSA Chairperson José Reyna said. “We felt very strongly that we couldn’t sit silently while legislators debated our future.”

COSSA is urging lawmakers to oppose the legislation, which it feels not only misses the mark in protecting national security, but could result in severe ramifications, particularly to minority populations.

In a letter to U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Reyna wrote: “Although the members of the Commission are appreciative and support the efforts to improve homeland security and protect our nation from terrorist threats and attacks, the proposed legislation does not effectively advance those goals. On the contrary, members of COSSA believe that it will result in a series of negative consequences.”

The commission believes the legislation would:

  • Jeopardize national security by forcing immigrants further underground.

  • Overturn the strong but flexible federal driver’s license standards that just passed in the Intelligence Reform Act. It imposes rigid and burdensome new requirements on all 50 states.

  • Result in negative and disparate treatment for members of minority, particularly the Latino communities.

“Current law already bars terrorists and others who present a security risk from getting asylum in the U.S. This bill is very broad and would also block many refugees who are fleeing religious or political persecution as well,” Reyna added. “While we must protect our country from terrorists, it shouldn’t be at the expense of genuine refugees, immigrants and minority populations in the U.S.  

The bill, which was introduced by U.S. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on Jan. 26, passed 261-161 in the U.S. House, and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary where it currently remains. The bill would establish and rapidly implement regulations for state driver’s license and identification document security standards.  






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