Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (02/10/2005)

REAL ID Act of 2005 - Title I: Amendments to Federal Laws to Protect Against Terrorist Entry - (Sec. 101) Amends Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provisions concerning asylum to: (1) authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security, in addition to the Attorney General, to grant asylum (retroactive to March 1, 2003); (2) require asylum applicants to prove that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be (if removed) the central reason for their persecution; and (3) provide that an applicant's testimony may be sufficient to sustain this burden of proof only if the trier of fact determines that it is credible, persuasive, and fact-specific. Requires corroborating evidence where requested by the trier of fact unless the applicant does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain it without departing the United States. States that the inability to obtain corroborating evidence does not excuse the applicant from meeting his or her burden of proof.

Lists factors relevant to credibility determinations in asylum cases, including (but not limited to) the: (1) demeanor, candor, or responsiveness of the applicant or witness; (2) inherent plausibility of the applicant's or witness' account; (3) consistency between the applicant's or witness' written and oral statements; (4) internal consistency of each such statement; (5) consistency of such statements with other evidence of record (including the Department of State's reports on country conditions); and (6) any inaccuracies or falsehoods in such statements regardless of whether they go to the heart of the applicant's claim. States that there is no presumption of credibility.

Makes this Act's provisions regarding proof requirements and credibility determinations in asylum proceedings applicable to other requests from relief for removal.

Limits judicial review of determinations regarding the availability of corroborating evidence.

Removes the numerical limit on the number of aliens granted asylum who may become lawful permanent residents in any fiscal year (currently set at 10,000).

Repeals provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) requiring a study and report on terrorists in the asylum system.

(Sec. 102) Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security (the Secretary), in the Secretary's sole discretion, to waive all laws as necessary to ensure expeditious construction of certain barriers and roads at the U.S. border. Prohibits courts, administrative agencies, and other entities from reviewing the Secretary's decision or from ordering relief for damages alleged to have resulted from such decision.

(Sec. 103) Expands the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability due to terrorist or terrorist-related activity to include aliens who: (1) are representatives of terrorist organizations or political, social, or other groups that endorse or espouse terrorist activity; (2) are members of designated terrorist organizations; (3) are members of organizations that engage in specified acts of terrorism; (4) endorse or espouse terrorist activity or persuade others to do so; or (5) have received military-type training from or on behalf of any organization that at the time was a terrorist organization.

Modifies the provision defining "engage in terrorist activity" to eliminate the possibility of discretionary waivers of inadmissibility for material support of organizations or individuals that have engaged in terrorist activity.

Expands the definition of "terrorist organization" to incorporate a broader range of underlying activities.

Makes this section applicable to removal proceedings instituted, and grounds of inadmissibility occurring, before, on, or after the enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 104) Expands the grounds of deportability due to terrorist activity to include aliens who would be inadmissible on terrorism-related grounds.

Makes this section applicable to: (1) removal proceedings instituted before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act; and (2) grounds of inadmissibility, excludability, deportation, or removal occurring or existing before, on, or after such date.

Repeals overlapping deportation provisions of the IRTPA.

(Sec. 105) Bars inadmissible arriving aliens from seeking judicial review of removal orders through habeas corpus, mandamus, or other extraordinary petitions.

Imposes a similar bar on denials of discretionary relief and orders against criminal aliens, with an exception for petitions for review concerning constitutional claims or pure questions of law.

Establishes the INA's judicial review provisions as the sole avenue for challenging removal orders and reviewing claims arising under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Requires petitions for review filed under pre-IIRIRA law to be treated as if filed under INA as amended by this section. States that such petitions shall be the sole and exclusive means for judicial review of orders of deportation or exclusion.

(Sec. 106) Sets forth requirements for delivery bonds (guaranteeing delivery of an alien against whom the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued an order to show cause or a notice to appear) and bonding agents. Requires such bonds to expire one year from the date of issue, at cancellation or upon surrender of the principal, or immediately upon nonpayment of the renewal premium. Authorizes annual renewal.

Requires cancellation of delivery bonds and exoneration of the surety: (1) for nonrenewal after the principal's surrender for removal; (2) if the surety or bonding agent provides reasonable evidence of misrepresentation or fraud in the bond application; (3) upon the death or incarceration of the principal or the surety's inability to produce the principal for medical reasons; (4) if the principal is detained by a law enforcement agency; (5) if it can be established that the principal departed the United States without permission; (6) if the foreign state of which the principal is a national is designated under temporary protected status provisions after posting of the bond; or (7) if the principal is surrendered to DHS, upon removal by the surety or bonding agent.

Authorizes the surrender of the principal to DHS for removal at any time, before bond conditions are breached, if the surety or bonding agent believes that the principal has become a flight risk.

States that a principal may be surrendered without the return of any bond premium if the principal: (1) changes address without providing advance written notice to the surety, bonding agent, and Secretary; (2) hides or is concealed from the surety, bonding agent, or Secretary; (3) fails to report to the Secretary annually; or (4) violates the contract with the bonding agent or surety, commits any act that may lead to a breach of the bond, or otherwise violates bond obligations or conditions.

Gives bonding agents or sureties desiring to surrender the principal the right to: (1) petition the Secretary or any Federal court, without payment of fees or court costs, for an arrest warrant; (2) receive two certified copies of such warrant and the bond undertaking; and (3) pursue, apprehend, detain, and surrender the principal to any DHS detention official or facility or to any detention facility authorized to hold Federal detainees.

Requires all delivery bonds to be secured by a corporate surety that is certified as an acceptable surety on Federal bonds and whose name appears on Treasury Department Circular 570 and to set forth specified information. Requires information about warrants for a principal's arrest to be entered into the National Crime Information Center database. Gives bonding agents or sureties complete access to information about the principal held by Federal, State, or local governments (or any related subsidiary or police agency) that the Secretary determines may be helpful in locating or surrendering the principal. Establishes graduated penalties for bonding agents and sureties who fail to surrender a principal within 15 months of the issuance of an arrest warrant, subject to waiver.

Gives bonding agents or sureties the absolute right to locate, apprehend, arrest, detain, and surrender any principal, wherever he or she may be found, who violates any bond term or condition. Limits total liability on any surety undertaking to the face amount of the bond.

Makes this section applicable to bonds and surety undertakings executed before, on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 107) Requires aliens arrested and detained pending a removal decision to post a delivery bond of at least $10,000 (currently, $1,500) in order to be released from custody, unless an immigration judge orders such alien's release on his or her own recognizance upon a finding that the alien is not a flight risk and is not a threat to the United States.

(Sec. 108) Requires the Secretary to take into custody any alien subject to a final order of removal and to cancel bond if the alien is produced within the prescribed time limit whether or not DHS accepts custody. States that the obligor on the bond shall be deemed to have substantially performed all conditions and shall be released from liability if the alien is produced within such time limit.

Makes this section applicable to all immigration bonds posted before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

Title II: Improved Security for Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards - (Sec. 202) Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting State issued driver's licenses or identification cards unless such documents are determined by the Secretary to meet minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features.

Sets forth minimum issuance standards for such documents that require: (1) verification of presented information; (2) evidence that the applicant is lawfully present in the United States; and (3) issuance of temporary driver's licenses or identification cards to persons temporarily present that are valid only for their period of authorized stay (or for one year where the period of stay is indefinite).

(Sec. 203) Requires States, as a condition of receiving grant funds or other financial assistance under this title, to participate in the interstate compact regarding the sharing of driver's license data (the Driver License Agreement).

(Sec. 204) Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit trafficking in actual as well as false authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification.

Requires the Secretary to enter into the appropriate aviation security screening database information regarding persons convicted of using false driver's licenses at airports.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to assist States in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.

(Sec. 206) Gives the Secretary all authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title. Gives the Secretary of Transportation all authority to certify compliance with such standards.

Authorizes the Secretary to grant States an extension of time to meet the minimum document requirements and issuance standards of this title, with adequate justification.

(Sec. 207) Repeals overlapping document provisions of the IRTPA.

(Sec. 208) States that nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the authorities and responsibilities of the Secretary of Transportation or the States under existing laws governing the establishment of a National Driver Register.

Title III: Border Infrastructure and Technology Integration - (Sec. 301) Directs the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security to study the technology, equipment, and personnel needed to address security vulnerabilities within the United States for each Customs and Border Protection field office that has responsibility for U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology to develop and report to specified congressional committees on a pilot program to utilize, or increase the utilization of, ground surveillance technologies to enhance U.S. border security. Requires technologies to include video camera, sensor, and motion detection technologies.

(Sec. 303) Requires the Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, to develop and implement a plan to: (1) improve communications systems of Federal agencies to facilitate integrated communications among such agencies, State and local government agencies, and Indian tribes on border security matters; and (2) enhance related information sharing among such entities.