Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Illegal Immigration Vs. a National Biometric ID Card

I'm going to wade into potentially dangerous territory today.

In an article in the WSJ today, author Laura Meckler writes:

"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.

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker."

The plan is being formed by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

Of course, privacy advocates are concerned. Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, responds that "it is fundamentally a massive invasion of people's privacy....We're not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We're also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification."

Exactly how is it being "treated like criminals" to provide identification to get a job? Don't we already have to provide a résumé? Don't we already provide a SSN? Don't employers already call around to verify our employment history, and sometimes perform extensive background checks?

It seems that what the ACLU is really concerned about is identifying the people who have illegally entered the country, illegally falsified identification, and illegally acquired jobs, and treating THEM like the criminals they are.

It is clear, in fact, it's indisputable, that this would require every citizen and legal resident to submit certain biometrics in order to acquire the card. And yes, to a certain extent, this card could be used "to track citizens".

But exactly how is that different from the way the government currently uses the Social Security Number today? In fact, it can be argued that the use of the Social Security Number is in direct violation of the promise by the Federal Government that the SSN would NOT be used for the purpose of identifying citizens. The original intent of the SSN was ONLY for the purpose of providing Social Security as a form of insurance.

However, Congress allowed a perversion of that intent and it morphed into the disastrous situation we have today, in which that number is used to verify an individual's identify for just about every important transaction in which he or she engages. Need a loan or credit? Show your SSN. Need a Driver's License? Show your SSN. Need a doctor's checkup? Show your SSN.

We now have a runaway problem in which organized crime is defrauding America of TRILLIONS of dollars by stealing SSNs in bulk. What's more, illegal immigrants have become some of the primary recipients of these stolen ID numbers.

And even more frightening, we are wide open to massive electoral fraud unless we get this situation under control.

So, let me ask this question: how is it any more intrusive to carry a card that is directly tied to biometric identifiers that are truly unique to the person and prevent the identifying number from being stolen and 're-purposed' by criminals? How is this different from a Social Security Card, except that it will be used for its actual intended purpose? How is it different from the use of a birth-certificate (which also can be falsified), or a Passport?

If there are privacy concerns, surely those can be handled through legislation. Why not?

In fact, there is really no reason why we could not issue a national biometric identification card {referred to as NBIDC from now on} AND solve the problems surrounding identity theft tied to the use of SSNs.

I have travelled and lived Latin America, and without exception, every country I've visited uses a national ID card, or Carnét. These are used to verify each individual's identity when requesting a bank account, credit, a passport, and yes, even before voting. To my knowledge, it has yet to become a "privacy issue" in these countries, or at least, no more so than a SSN is here in the United States.

But what are the benefits to issuing an NBIDC?

  • In the battle against illegal immigration, the only entity enabled to police immigration is the Federal Government.
  • Business owners who want to comply with the law and not hire illegals run the risk of a discrimination lawsuit if they ask to see proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect might be a foreigner.
  • Police are constantly being sued for discrimination whenever they stop individuals whom they suspect are here illegally.
  • Because drivers licenses in most states can be acquired even without being a legal citizen (either legally or illegally by easily circumventing the identification methods in place), driver's licenses are not a good preventative measure. And in many states, that's all that's required to vote, so we run the risk of non-citizens voting for who-so-ever promises the most to foreign interests or to keep the borders open so their 37 relatives can also come here--illegally.

We can't tell business owners that they "shall not" employ illegal immigrants if there is no method for them to identify legal residents.

And until the job opportunities for illegals dries up, we'll never solve that problem.

Think about the cost of continuing "business as usual".

  • Massive illegal immigration provides a source of cheap labor to companies that would otherwise have to pay more to legal residents and citizens.
  • It creates a debilitating drain on our social services--such as health care--and that cost is forwarded onto all citizens and legal residents.
  • Illegal immigrants have been tied directly to many crimes, ranging from identity theft, to drug trafficking, burglaries, rapes and murders, not to mention the many thousands of automobile-related accidents costing our citizens financially and in lost loved ones.
  • Our jails are beginning to overflow with illegal immigrants. In fact, it's become such a problem, many illegals receive a virtual "get out of jail free" card for their minor infractions. This means that there is a growing double standard wherein citizens are punished more harshly for their infractions while illegal immigrants are repeatedly given second, third, fourth chances.
  • If we can't stop their access to jobs, the temptation will remain for them to cross our borders, which will again infuriate the citizens who in turn will push for a militarized border and the construction of costly fences and other measures to stop them.
  • What would be more cost effective: A thousand mile fence, or a National ID Card?
  • And there is a national security element to the discussion, as well. If we eliminate the numbers of illegal immigrants we also reduce the ability for terrorists to enter the country and hide among them. We provide a mechanism by which individuals who enter the country LEGALLY with the intention of overstaying their visas (and thus become ILLEGAL down the road) to be more easily identified and deported.
To review: The idea that an NBIDC poses some danger to "privacy" is a red-herring. To the contrary, it poses no greater threat than that already existing thanks to the abuse of the SSN, and in fact offers an opportunity to eliminate that abuse, save the economy trillions of dollars, reduce credit interest rates, secure our electoral system, and provide a mechanism by which employers and law enforcement can identify the illegals among us and deport them.

The REAL issue here is: how do we want to go about deporting millions of illegals? Or should we give the current millions "amnesty" in exchange for this problem-solver?


Brittanicus said...

Whatever the outcome of the discussions between Sen. Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham of any other partisanship play on the illegal immigration explosion. No matter if our politicians kill E-Verify, 287 (g) federal agreement with local police, slowing down on ICE raids or anything. Whatever law they try to enact, the American people will not tolerate any kind of AMNESTY. Disguise it as they may, no Comprehensive Immigration Reform will ever pass. Illegal aliens will remain "Illegal" and stay that way, as patriotic citizens, sovereignty lovers will--NEVER--allow this abomination to pass. A citizen workers ID or biometric identity card may gain some recognition, but only for legal immigrants. THOSE WHO STOLE ACROSS THE BORDER WILL--NEVER, EVER--BE ACCEPTED BY AMERICANS.

We will take the late Senator Ted Kennedy at his word, when he stated in 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill: “This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this.” End of Quote. SO BE IT! We take this venerated, liberal politician as his word. NEVER ANOTHER AMNESTY. We are now dealing with the monstrous backlash of astronomic costs, that have amplified in support for illegal aliens who have cheated the entitlement system. Amendments to the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act may be possible, but if you want to settle in America, you follow the Rule of Law.and enter America through the front gates. READ THE LATEST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION NEWS AT NUMBERSUSA, CAPITOL THE CORRUPTION AT JUDICIAL WATCH. INFORM EVERY STATE POLITICIAN IN YOUR CONSTITUENCY YOUR ANGRY. JOIN MILLIONS AND CALL THE WASHINGTON SWITCHBOARD AT 202-224-3121. INSURE THAT YOUR POLITICIANS- AIDE LOG IN YOUR FRUSTRATED COMPLAINTS AND DON'T TAKE--NO--FOR AN ANSWER!

Shakedown Crews said...

From an email I received:
Germans have had "national ID cards" for years, at least back to the mid-60s and probably since the early or mid '30s (Nazi Germany). When I first heard about it, I was taken aback, until I realized that I had to have my "green ID card" (Military ID) with me at all times, not just for the US military, but also for all of the European police, postal services, financial institutions, etc. So I blew it off.

Now, this was my first "picture ID". Prior to that time, DLs had NO PHOTOS, nor did the draft card or Selective Service Card (used, if you remember to prove your were at least 18 and could "legally" drink, and because it was not a photo ID, here in Louisiana we got them from our older friends when we were 15 or 16 so we could go in the bars.

I see people using certified birth certificates to prove that they are who they say they are - I am still trying to figure out how that proves identification - all it proves is that someone was born on a specific place on a specific date to two specific people - it does NOT prove that the person carrying the BC is in fact the same person was named on BC.

Reading the WSJ article brought back memories - I just checked and the bottom of my SS card says "For Social Security and Tax Purposes - Not for Identification". That is so much bull. It has been used for ID purposes for years and years - long before 9/11 and Homeland Security.

The bottom line is that I don't find the idea of national ID card that big of a deal. In fact, I think it is probably a good idea to have some uniform ID instead of all of the different forms that might or might not be valid for identification purposes. See the TSA listing of what is required to take a flight. Geez! And if it could help us get a handle on who is legally in the US and who should be required to leave, then I think that is a good thing.

Shakedown Crews said...

And another email:
here is a comment from a gringo friend now living in Spain:

“...Yes we have a national ID system and without it you are no one. It´s the same as in the states, no Drivers license, you can´t do anything. So, national ID, nothing new...”