Accepted Paper:

Unverifiable  
Arantxa Ortiz (Brandeis University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on archival footage from 9/11 Congressional hearings and the director’s involvement in the Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses for All campaign, Unverifiable interrogates how driver's licenses became crucial for the criminalization of illegalized residents' mobility.

Paper long abstract:

Note for organizers: the film is in production and I am looking for feedback on the narrative structure and editing.

Abstract: Unverifiable draws attention to the post-9/11 securitization of identity documents and its role in the criminalization of illegalized residents’ mobility. Drawing on archival footage from 9/11 Congressional hearings and the director’s involvement in the Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses for All campaign, the film interrogates how driver's licenses became tools of homeland security. While some U.S. states had already introduced legislation preventing illegalized residents from obtaining driver’s licenses as early as the 1990s, the passage of laws such as the 2005 REAL ID Act symbolized a significant shift in the federal approach to homeland security. Particularly, this mandate required that each state develop an enhanced driver’s license which would be both restricted to legal residents and required to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings. Crucially, this federal mandate forced state legislatures to turn the driver’s license into a de facto national ID, constraining illegalized residents’ mobility through the issuance of an identification card for which they were ineligible, and introducing ‘federal compliance standards’ which would creating additional barriers for the passage of state driver’s license laws. By tracing the two-decade-long implementation of the REAL ID Act and the trajectory of the Massachusetts local driver’s license debate, the film questions the ways in which identity documents have been used to racialize and other illegalized communities.

Panel W05a
Work-in-Progress: Archive
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 March, 2023, -