Dems’ immigration proposal creates national ID card, ‘fingerprints’ database

Raw Story

Democrat: Public more comfortable with idea of national ID cardbiometric ID

Civil liberties groups and even some die-hard supporters of the Democratic Party are raising the alarm over the Democrats’ proposed immigration overhaul, which would see the creation of a national biometric ID card.

“If the biometric national ID card provision of the draft bill becomes law, every worker in America would have to be fingerprinted and a new federal bureaucracy – one that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars – would have to be created to issue cards,” the ACLU said in a statement Thursday, following the release of Senate Democrat’s 28-page proposal (PDF) for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Creating a biometric national ID will not only be astronomically expensive, it will usher government into the very center of our lives. Every worker in America will need a government permission slip in order to work. And all of this will come with a new federal bureaucracy – one that combines the worst elements of the DMV and the TSA,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel.

As Ezra Klein notes at the Washington Post, no fewer than 10 pages of the proposal are devoted to the “Believe System,” which sets up an ID card for everyone in the work force. “Believe” is an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment. The Social Security Administration would be responsible for running the ID card system.

The Democrats’ proposal, whose main backers include Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, makes it clear that the ID cards are intended solely for the purpose of eliminating undocumented immigrants from the work force. It would be illegal for any corporation, level of government or law enforcement officer “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 that does not satisfy many activist groups, including some pro-Democrat groups supporting immigration reform. An unnamed representative of one such group told The Hill that the ID card proposal sounds “Orwellian.”

The ID card proposal “will give people some pause,” said Angela Kelley, immigration policy chief at the liberal Center for American Progress, as quoted at The Hill.

Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, defended the proposal in the face of early criticism, telling The Hill that he believes the public has become more comfortable with the idea of a national identification card.

“The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” Durbin said. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification. … People understand that in this vulnerable world, we have to be able to present identification.”

Among the other elements of the immigration proposal is an eight-year waiting list for amnesty for undocumented migrants. Provided an undocumented migrant currently in the US pays his or her taxes, does not commit a crime and learns English in an eight-year period, they will be eligible for legal status.

The proposal comes just one day after both President Barack Obama and the top Republican House representative suggested that immigration reform is unlikely to happen this year. There “may not be an appetite” for immigration reform this year, Obama said, while House Minority Leader John Boehner said, “There is not a chance that immigration is going to move through the Congress.”

The proposal is taking heat in many corners of the media that tend to be supportive of Democratic initiatives.

The plan “outdoes Arizona in bigotry,” asserts Anis Shivani at the Huffington Post.

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About Luis Miranda
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One Response to Dems’ immigration proposal creates national ID card, ‘fingerprints’ database

  1. destructionist says:

    Most people in America aren’t against immigration; they’re just against illegal immigration. For example, like most of our ancestors, my mother’s parents were immigrants. They came through Ellis Island and followed the various legal steps required in order to establish themselves as true citizens of this country. The immigrants crossing the Mexican border, however, have absolutely no interest in following these legal protocols. Once they cross the border, they change their names and/or purchase social security numbers in an effort to conceal their true identities from the law. It is not uncommon for an illegal immigrant to purchase not one, but two or more social security numbers, just in case one is flagged. I have witnessed this crime with my own eyes. (One day, a supposedly legal immigrant was asked to give their social security card to a receptionist for a job application and an interview. When the receptionist happened to ask to see the card a second time, the immigrant mistakenly handed over a different social security card with the same name on it, but with a completely different set of numbers…)

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Hispanics. I have many Hispanic friends, but they either have green cards to work in the United States or have become legal citizens. They decided to follow the rule of law and work within the boundaries of our legal system. Unfortunately, many immigrants do not, and it is those particular individuals that we are most concerned about.

    Now it seems that those who sympathize with illegal immigrants wish to hijack the discussion of reform by attacking the law recently imposed by the State of Arizona through protests and boycotts; a state mind you, that has been besieged with crime, drugs and an ever-increasing population of illegal immigrants. Don’t allow them this option. Speak out and take action. This is your country… fight for it.

    In closing, I consider myself to be a bleeding-heart liberal: a Democrat. My ancestor, Roger Williams – the founder of Rhode Island and founder of the First Baptist Church in America, was one too; regarding the acceptance of different nationalities, cultures and religions as the vitality and lifeblood of any country. Nevertheless, I think that he would agree with me; that immigrants wishing to become legal citizens have not only the obligation, but the civil and legal responsibility to follow the rules of law established by any country in which they wish to become authentic citizens, just as our ancestors – both yours and mine – struggled so arduously and righteously to achieve.