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Dear Editor:
Dr. Baer's letter ignores two facts:

Driver's licenses and social security numbers (SSNs) are de facto national IDs. Unfortunately, although they are accepted as such, the standards behind them are not the same, and there is no assurance of the security they offer. Each state decides its own rules for driver's licenses, and 13 states allow holders of Mexican consular cards (largely illegal immigrants) to use these cards as documentation to get a driver's license. Driver's license are not only used to drive, but are accepted as proof of identity and address for such things as cashing checks and boarding planes, neither of which has anything to do with driving. The social security number is regularly used as ID for purposes other than its original intent. In other words, although they are used as national IDs, their security is securely compromised by the lack of national standards for obtaining the driver's license, and the indiscriminate use of both licenses and SSNs for purposes they were not intended for. We need a true national ID.

As for the Mexican consular ID--what is that if not a national identity card, albeit a Mexican one? Why on earth should we accept another nation's identity card, whose security we cannot verify and for which there is no way for US officials to readily check the identity and history of the holder, beyond the fact that they are most likely here illegally? Yet, maintain that to have a national ID card of our own is somehow an invasion of privacy? Furthermore, what happens when consular cards proliferate as other countries decide to offer them to their own citizens who live here illegally. Are banks, police departments, and such really going to spend the time and money training staff to identify all such consular cards correctly? And what database are the police going to check against for warrants and criminal records elsewhere? Mexico's? El Salvador's? Even without the logistical issues, there is the fundamental problem that acceptance of the consular cards makes it easier for illegal aliens to continue to violate federal law. It is interference by a foreign power, Mexico, in the internal affairs of the US. It formalizes what has been the informal policy of winking at illegal immigration and law breaking. And, it compromises our security as a nation.

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