Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called for the federal government to issue every citizen who wants one but cannot afford the $65 fee, a free passport card in order to solve the politically divisive immigration and electoral integrity controversies.
The Democrat, who is the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of onetime presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy, said that his campaign will focus on the values Americans hold in common, leading the country toward an ethos of respectful dialog and reconciliation across races, parties, and divisions.
Kennedy is challenging President Joe Biden, who three-quarters of Americans believe to be too old for a second term in the White House, in the contest for the Democratic nomination.
Kennedy’s plan to Heal the Divide is seeking to identify “innovative common sense solutions to some of these apparently intractable problems which keep political parties at each other’s throats”.
“I want to describe a win-win-win policy which can solve two of the principal issues keeping the political parties apart,” Kennedy said. “One of these issues is the wave of illegal immigration that is currently coming across the border. The other issue has to do with the integrity of our electoral process and the guarantee that every citizen should have a right to vote.”
“What could be a solution that can solve both those problems? The answer to that question is to make passport cards free – a passport card is a picture identification which is issued by the federal government to be used as a substitute for a passport, it is an accredited federal ID,” Kennedy said. “They are issued by every one of 33,000 federal post offices in our country. Almost every American has a post office within easy driving or walking distance of their home.”
“Currently those passports cost 65 dollars and for many Americans, especially poor Americans that price tag puts passport cards out of people’s reach,” said Kennedy. “Making passport cards free will solve another important problem and that is that millions of Americans today are living as second-class citizens as they do not have government-issued photo ID.”
“Without a passport or driver’s license, you can’t open a bank account, you can’t board an airplane, you can’t check into a hotel and you can’t visit your child at school,” said Kennedy. “If you can’t open a bank account you cash your salary check at a check cashing operation which will take as much as 10 percent of the value of that check.”
“Shouldn’t we all be concerned that the difficulty in accessing a government-issued photo ID has left millions at the mercy of check cashers and payday lenders, an 11 billion dollar industry,” asked Kennedy. “In the interest of pure fairness, we need to make sure every American can obtain an ID, I’m not talking about a new form of universal or mandatory identification, in fact, this proposal nullifies the arguments of those who have been urging universal mandatory IDs or vaccine passports.”
“Rather we make passport cards available to every American who can’t afford them and assist them in obtaining the necessary paperwork. No one in this country needs to be a second-class citizen and there are two other benefits. Voter ID laws will no longer be unfair to people who can no longer afford or obtain an ID,” said Kennedy. “That’s why it will please liberals – civil rights leaders Andrew Young, Al Sharpton, and Martin Luther King III are all supporting the proposal.”
“Conservatives will be happy that this proposal goes a long way in fixing our broken electoral system and everyone will have to prove their identity before they vote,” said Kennedy. “The second benefit is that we can now make employers accountable for hiring people illegally. That alone will stem the flood of illegal immigration to this country. If you can’t find a job in this country, there is no incentive to come here illegally.”
“By making it easy for employers to skirt the laws that forbid them from hiring illegal aliens, we are putting firms that hire working Americans and union members at a tremendous disadvantage in the marketplace,” said Kennedy. “Once we have sealed the border and made it impossible for illegal aliens to work in this country, we can talk about a path to citizenship for people who are already here.”
“When I am President of the United States in my first week in office I will issue an executive order to every postmaster in this country to issue free passport cards to every American who cannot afford one,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy added: “Right now we are putting $150 billion into making sure Ukraine can have democracy. We ought to be able to put a billion or so dollars into protecting democracy at home.”
“I ask all of you to give this proposal careful consideration and your support and write to President Biden and ask him to do the right thing prior to the 2024 election so that every American can vote and the election has integrity,” said Kennedy.
RFK Jr., the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, has a successful career spanning more than four decades. He has published several books, founded the Waterkeeper Alliance, and won critical environmental battles — all while taking care of his family.
He fathered six children with his first two wives, Emily Black and Mary Richardson, and he’s also raising the daughter of his third wife, actress Cheryl Hines.