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Identifying a problem

July 22, 2009

Re "Real ID, a real pain," Editorial, July 18

Why do we insist on linking a driver's license to proof of identity? A driver's license need only serve as permission to drive a motor vehicle, after proving that you are qualified.

An identity card is a far more official document, proving identity. Just because we have used our driver's licenses as IDs for so long in this country does not make it a good idea.

In many parts of the world, all citizens are issued and carry some form of an ID card. It is not a problem. It doesn't reflect on one's character; it is a simple piece of paper that tells who you are.

And if you want to drive, you must first pass a test to prove your ability to do so safely, nationality notwithstanding.

Heidi Galloway

Ladera Ranch

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The "real pain" (in the neck) are the paranoid "privacy freaks" who think everybody on the planet is interested in their personal affairs.

We urgently need a tamper-proof national ID. Airline security, as discussed in The Times' editorial, should be as important a reason for this as one would need.

However, the really important issue for a national ID is to facilitate urgent immigration reform. Swallow hard and accept the fact that we have millions of illegal immigrants in this country.

As it stands now, they are a burden on our medical system, the emergency rooms and our schools. Should they be recognized as legitimate U.S. residents, they will immeasurably increase their already substantial tax contributions.

John A. Saylor

Long Beach

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Every honest citizen has a Social Security or tax identification number, a driver's license, credit cards and, maybe, a passport. Our finances and travels are tracked by the federal government and by the credit monitoring firms. Our fragmented systems facilitate identity theft and fraud.

Who and what are we protecting by not stepping up to a national ID system?

Jack Gordon

Newhall

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Following the hysteria of 9/11, I was surprised that Congress didn't legislate to microchip citizens.

Michele M. Yepiz

Lemon Grove, Calif.

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