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Cantor Votes to Strengthen Driver's License Laws

Location: Washington, DC

Cantor Votes to Strengthen Driver's License Laws
May 5, 2005

Washington, D.C. - Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today voted in favor of the conference report for H.R. 1268, a bill making emergency appropriations for defense and the war on terror. Included in the bill were provisions of the REAL ID Act, which the House approved separately on Feb. 10, 2005, to require states to ensure the legal immigration status of an applicant before issuing that applicant a driver's license and require that a driver's license expire when the driver's visa expires.

Cantor was the first member of Congress to introduce a bill, H.R. 5322 on Sept. 2, 2002, with those same provisions. Cantor also introduced a similar bill, H.R. 1121 on Mar. 6, 2003, in the next Congress.

"This essential legislation will support and defend America 's values both at home and abroad," Cantor said. "Our troops serving in Iraq will have the necessary tools to continue their rebuilding efforts in Iraq and to continue the War on Terror. At home, the REAL ID provisions will strengthen our nation's driver's license laws, providing each citizen with another layer of security.

"Until now, terrorists could easily exploit weak driver licensing laws and obtain fake documents. With a license in hand, terrorists were better able to blend in, avoid detection, and harm our nation's citizens. This is exactly what several of the 9/11 terrorists did, using drivers' licenses to board airplanes and murder thousands of innocent Americans on September 11, 2001.

"The REAL ID provisions will close dangerous gaps that remain in our current licensing law and that allow terrorists to abuse our asylum and driver's license systems. The new law will protect innocent Americans by setting up national driver's license standards, networking state motor vehicle data bases, and linking visa and license expirations."

The House approved the conference report by a vote of 368-58. The Senate will consider the conference report next week and if the conference report is approved it will go to the president's desk for his signature.

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