Saturday, July 31, 2010

Should Immigration Reform Include a National ID?

RFID cards and readerImage by sridgway via Flickr

Should Immigration Reform Include a National ID? 

  •
    Watch the Event in QuickTime (M4V)
    Download a Podcast of the Event (MP3) The emerging Senate comprehensive immigration reform is said to include a temporary worker program, a "tough but fair" path to legalization, and enhanced border security. These elements, if well designed, would effectively solve the immigration challenge: enhancing homeland security, reducing the number of unlawful residents, and providing for our economic needs. But should reform also require American workers to have a biometric national ID? What are the implementation issues, how expensive would it be, and would huge government databases of personal information put law-abiding citizens' privacy, identity security, and freedom at risk? Would mission creep ultimately give the federal government unprecedented power over Americans' lives? Please join Cato's Jim Harper and the ACLU's Chris Calabrese for a discussion of the costs and consequences of including a biometric national ID proposal in immigration reform legislation.
    We are at capacity for this event and are unable to accept additional reservations. An archived video will be available on this webpage following the event. Thank you for your interest in our public programs.

  • Is a biometric, national ID card an immigration game changer?

  • The Democrats' immigration-reform proposal (pdf) is 26 pages long. Pages 8 through 18 are devoted to "ending illegal employment through biometric employment verification." I don't think the Democrats are going to like me calling this a biometric national ID card, as they go to great lengths to say that it is not a national ID card, and make it "unlawful for any person, corporation; organization local, state, or federal law enforcement officer; local or state government; or any other entity to require or even ask an individual cardholder to produce their social security card for any purpose other than electronic verification of employment eligibility and verification of identity for Social Security Administration purposes."
    But it's still a biometric national ID card. It's handed out by the Social Security Administration and employers are required to check it when hiring new employees. Essentially, if you want to participate in the American economy, you need this card. "Within five (5) years of the date of enactment, the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes," the bill says. "This requirement will exist even if the employer does not yet possess the capability to electronically verify the employee by scanning the card through a card reader."

  • Posted by Jim Harper
    So reports the Wall Street Journal:
    Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.
    It’s the natural evolution of the policy called “internal enforcement” of immigration law, as I wrote in my paper, “Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration.”
    Once in place, watch for this national ID to regulate access to financial services, housing, medical care and prescriptions—and, of course, serve as an internal passport.

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    Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2010 at 02:25 PM

    New immigration reform bill will have national identity card

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    A national identity card for employers to check is at the heart of the new immigration reform legislation being proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.

    All legal U.S. workers would be issued with the ID card which would have a biometric identification impossible to duplicate.

    Schumer and Graham were due to meet President Obama this week to discuss their immigration reform plan which would also allow those here illegally to stay and gain a path to citizenship. However, Graham's plane flight from South Carolina was canceled and the meeting was postponed.

    Schumer says the national identity card is the key to getting a bill passed "It's the nub of solving the immigration dilemma politically speaking," Schumer said in an interview in the Wall Street Journal . The card, he said, would make it impossible for any new illegals to find work. "If you say they can't get a job when they come here, you'll stop it." he stated.would become de facto national ID cards that enable the government to track citizens.
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