The House recently passed (March 16) a bill called the "Real ID Act of 2005" (H.R. 418), attached to a "must pass" emergency military funding bill. The Real ID Act of 2005 makes it more difficult for political asylum seekers to get asylum, makes it easier for the government to deport nonviolent permanent residents for association with terrorists, and requires states to deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. The Senate is considering the bill now.
The bill would require asylum seekers to supply written corroboration of their claims to the government upon demand, and make them responsible for being unable to provide this information. The demand for such "corroboration" is contrary to international law. The bill would also, according to the ACLU, "make it possible to deport long-term, lawful, permanent residents for providing non-violent, humanitarian support to organizations labeled 'terrorist' by the government." Even if the support was legal at the time it was provided. Finally, the act would force states to deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, although state DMV employees are not trained in federal immigration law and would probably resort to ethnic profiling. This last provision would only continue a trend toward making state driver's licenses into de facto national ID cards.
The Real ID Act of 2005 is up before the Senate now and will be voted on in the next few weeks. NOW is the time to register your opinion on the subject with your representative. For a summary of the bill's text and a link to the complete text, as well as for information on action alerts and how to contact your representative regarding this issue, please visit this page on congress.org's website.
And for those in California, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sen. Diane Feinstein has recently come out in favor of the bill, so now is the time to get those letters and phone calls into her office!