Coalition for a Secure Driver's License
|Motto||Working to Protect The Identity of Every American|
The Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan not for profit crime prevention education charity incorporated in Washington, D.C. CSDL’s stated mission is to “raise public awareness that weak state systems for issuing drivers’ licenses and IDs increase the risk from foreign terrorists and domestic criminals who can fraudulently assume new identities to escape detection by law enforcement."
CSDL was established in November, 2001.
In December 2005, the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License launched a billboard campaign in North Carolina urging the increase of driver’s license issuance standards. The campaign came about after Congress passed the REAL ID act, which called for states to adopt a uniform standard for authenticating the source documents that applicants use to obtain driver’s licenses and ID cards.
The billboard’s slogan, “Don’t License Terrorists” accompanied an image of a terrorist wearing a traditional Arab headdress while holding a driver’s license and grenade. The billboard drew national media attention and strong reaction from some groups that believed it was inflaming anti-Arab sentiment.
“The message of the ad says that Arabs are dangerous and violent people and that therefore they should not get driver’s licenses and I think it’s bigoted. It’s racist,” said Christine Saah Nazer of the Washington D.C.-based Arab American Institute.
Other groups challenged CSDL’s assertion that North Carolina needed to require driver’s license applicants to show a valid Social Security card and proof that they were residing in the country legally.
In 2005, according to Ernie Seneca, spokesman for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, "North Carolina has a strong driver's license program and we have taken significant steps to address security and the identification of license holders."
“Melanie Chernoff, deputy director of El Pueblo, an Hispanic advocacy group in Raleigh, said the billboard is unnecessary because license requirements in North Carolina already are strict.”
Then CSDL President Amanda Bowman defended the billboard. "I think it's an important message to get out to North Carolinians that they have a driver's license that is vulnerable to getting into the wrong hands."
CSDL also erected a highway billboard in New Mexico urging the state to raise their license security. The billboard, 30 miles east of Albuquerque, featured a mock photograph of one of Mohammed Atta’s eight driver’s licenses with text reading “Some States Made it Easy, Don’t License Terrorists, New Mexico.”
- [dead link]
- Michael Easterbrook. "Billboard takes state to task: Lax driver's license rules aid terrorists, group claims". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on 2005-12-29. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Leinwand, Donna (2005-12-13). "Billboard's images spark outrage". USA Today.
- [dead link]
- Official website
- "Anti-Terror Legislation Expected to Lengthen DMV Lines", The Washington Post
- Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License
- Department of Homeland Security: REAL ID Act