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US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card 619

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-aliens-with-bits-of-plastic dept.
schwit1 sends this quote from 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. Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal US workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker. ... A person familiar with the legislative planning said the biometric data would likely be either fingerprints or a scan of the veins in the top of the hand. It would be required of all workers, including teenagers, but would be phased in, with current workers needing to obtain the card only when they next changed jobs, the person said. The card requirement also would be phased in among employers, beginning with industries that typically rely on illegal-immigrant labor."
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US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card

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  • Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nesman64 (1093657) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @09:59AM (#31412830) Homepage

    I must see your papers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xiph (723935)

      Wonderful how only the workers need ID-card.
      Maybe Benito Mussolini was on to something with the comparisons between corporatism and fascism, now you'll find out in USA.

      • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by confused one (671304) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:14AM (#31413068)
        It's you need an ID card to work. "They" want to disenfranchise you, they deny you an ID card. Then you can't work. No work, no money. No money, you become disenfranchised. Then you don't exist.
        • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rhsanborn (773855) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:30AM (#31413296)
          Ummm...actually, that's exactly what they want to do. They want to force employers to only hire people with "papers". The idea being that illegal immigrants can't get "papers" and will therefore be unable to work. It's actually a two phased plan. They require employees to have this ID card, they also require employers to check that employees have said ID card and are verified to work in the US. It's currently difficult to prove that an employer knowingly hired someone who isn't allowed to work in the US. This allows the government to prove that employers didn't check their employees worker status, which is far easier to prosecute.

          The ultimate goal is that illegal immigrants won't be allowed to work here. The unfortunate side effect is that immigration is going to be even more of a nightmare for people who are legal to work in the US. And suddenly, many Americans are going to find themselves having to get lawyers and work out paperwork when their cards don't come up valid, or they lose them, etc.
          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:48AM (#31413554) Journal

            The idea being that illegal immigrants can't get "papers" and will therefore be unable to work

            Yeah, that'll work. Just the other day I stopped at the corner and picked up a guy named "Jose" to help me put up drywall, alas he didn't have a social security card and wasn't able to accept the greenbacks I was offering him. Guess I'll have to hire someone with papers next time.

            And suddenly, many Americans are going to find themselves having to get lawyers and work out paperwork when their cards don't come up valid, or they lose them, etc.

            Why would that bother anybody in Congress? Most of them are lawyers after all. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.....

            • Back in the USSA!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mdm-adph (1030332)

            The ultimate goal is that illegal immigrants won't be allowed to work here.

            I really don't see corporate America ever allowing this to happen. It'll either be painfully easy to circumvent these cards, or there'll be so many loopholes and exceptions that they won't have any power.

          • Wake up (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:13AM (#31413866)

            The unfortunate side effect is that immigration is going to be even more of a nightmare for people who are legal to work in the US

            You think that is the only unfortunate side effect, or even the most significant?

            The potential for government abuse of this system is very high. The government can use it to track its own people without warrant, to further the current problem if lifetime punishments for every crime, and to silence anyone with an unfavorable opinion. Furthermore, this increases the risk of identity theft victimization, since swiping this card, or the information on it, is all such a thief will need to do (and don't think for a second that this unique identifier won't be used for credit applications, phone service, and everything else that the SSN is used for today (and more)).

            This has "bad idea" written all over it, but is being sold as a solution to a problem that only exists because the government refuses to enforce its CURRENT POLICIES (and not due to their expense, but rather, due to the high demand for cheap foreign labor among donating businesses).

            • anyone who has an opinion about this can contact Senator Schumer [senate.gov] and Senator Graham [senate.gov]
              • by querist (97166) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:29PM (#31416878) Homepage
                As Senator Graham is one of my senators, I have contacted his office regarding this matter.

                For those of you who contact your senators or representatives, please try to be civil. If you have appropriate qualifications in the field (advanced degrees, etc.), please politely offer your assistance to your senator's staff to help them understand the technical complexities of the proposal. That is exactly what I have done, and I have had significant success with this approach with Senator Jim DeMint. I am on his "call list" and I occasionally receive calls from his office when proposals like this come up and I am asked for my input on the matter. (I have not received a call on this one, so I will contact Senator DeMint's office once I've had a chance to read the bill. Often they do not recognize that there is a "computer security" component to a bill such as this - they just think "ID card" and do not think of the databases behind the cards.)

                If you are polite and you have appropriate qualifications that your senator or representative will recognize, you may have an opportunity to have a positive influence in the process. Remember, though, that your senators and representatives are people who have fears, egos, and agendas just like everyone else. Show them that you want to work WITH them.

                If you honestly cannot bring yourself to assist your senator or representative for whatever reason you have, then please at least be polite in your letters. An angry letter filled with vitriol and profanity will only alienate the recipient from your viewpoint.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by WindBourne (631190)
              Of course, the real solution will be that the data is encrypted on the card, and you either give a pin, or the feds have a pin for it to unlock it. I am not wild about ID cards, but I am also oppose to illegals destroy our economy (and yes, they are costing America HUGE, along with the outsourcing). EU nations handle it by requiring IDs for every legal person to have a card. So do many other nations. In the end, the question is, do we continue on this mutual suicide path, or do we take risks with the feds
              • See for example Marshall Brain's writings:
                http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm [marshallbrain.com]
                http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

                A list of current robotics videos I put together, with robots doing everything from milk cows, prune grape vines, throw and catch cell phones, put laundry in washing machines, invent and test new theories in yeast genetics, and do autopsies (the last one isn't a video, thankfully):
                http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.or [listcultures.org]

              • Re:Wake up (Score:5, Insightful)

                by magus_melchior (262681) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:05PM (#31416580) Journal

                I am also oppose to illegals destroy our economy (and yes, they are costing America HUGE, along with the outsourcing).

                Just to play devil's advocate (a bit sincerely, at that), who is responsible for the growth of illegal immigration and outsourcing? The Mexicans/Central Americans, Chinese, and Indians? They just want a job that pays better than a couple of USD per day, and would be among the last people who want the US economy to collapse. Can we not level some responsibility at the US corporations who fanatically seek dirt-cheap labor costs and zero labor protections/environmental regulations? Can we not see some responsibility in American laborers who demand ever-increasing wages and benefits while turning down the plentiful manual labor that the illegal immigrants consider generous? And, if the labor is being utilized by these undocumented workers, exactly how are these taxpaying people costing America*? For that matter, where are you getting this idea that handing out more documentation will suddenly cause illegals to stop working illicitly, or that this would prevent boneheaded racist ideas from becoming policy?

                Boiling the discussion down to "illegals destroy our economy" makes for a catchy talking point (which is why GOP politicians use it liberally), but it is, in the end, a Big Lie designed to foster discrimination and create a class of scapegoats. If it worked for every immigrant struggle in the history of this fine nation, why not, right?

                An ID card is little more than security theater. You'll have the same things that happen today with SSNs and identity theft, where illegals buy paperwork from dishonest people to become (sarcasm quotes) "documented"-- the only difference will be the time it takes to crack whatever encryption is on the ID card (remember, a straight cipher like the one you suggest is very straightforward to crack with brute force), or, more likely, the time it takes to move the electronics to a fake ID.

                Let's not require such cards for citizens and permanent resident visas; don't even encourage employers to try to "document" their citizen/green-card workers this way, as the constitutional implications of this are serious. Let's not force those who seek temporary visas to get these IDs, as if we're Narita Airport's immigration gates fingerprinting every foreigner (remembering that by and large we Americans are descendants of immigrants). But if we want to somehow try to offer a way for undocumented workers to get legit documentation that's easy for employers to verify, offer this to them. Put them on "probation", if you would, and monitor their progress towards a legit visa.

                Maybe that's too progressive for some folks, so naturally Congress would probably strengthen CIS officials' power to kick undocumented workers out for any reason. There is never a straightforward answer to a problem like this, and every solution will hurt a huge number of people. Hanging onto this ID card idea as if it were a silver bullet strongly suggests that you want a quick and dirty fix without thinking about the consequences.

                * Yes, yes, you want to say "they're taking jobs away from hard-working patriotic freedom-loving Americans". I've got news for you-- those jobs were either priced out of their market by the employers, or the same hard-working Americans rejected the lower wages. You cannot pin the responsibility on the illegals alone for wage depression.

            • However, consider that revoking a card would be necessary but you can't necessarily revoke the information on the card, or if you do, you cause someone a great deal of grief. There are reasons why biometric data is considered to be the weakest form of strong security.

              There is a great deal of potential for abuse here, just with the no-fly lists, etc, but this is worse because I can still drive my car across the country (I might not be able to if I didn't have income though). There is no life in prison for

          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:15AM (#31413894) Homepage Journal

            Right, and currently you need a SS card to work so your employer can pay their share of your SS. Your SS card already has your full name on it, which they can cross reference with your driver's licence and any references you list. The problem is that employers don't always do this (especially with more obvious possible immigrants, like those who don't speak english and don't have a name on their SS card that fits their ethnic background). Right now counterfeiting a SS card is pretty easy. All you're doing is raising the bar on what counterfeiters have to do to sell their ID cards.
             
            How many construction companies are really going to scan the veins (for the card, as suggested by the article) of their spanish speaking construction workers?
             
            Adding another ID card does nothing but add more paperwork, more complexity, and more counterfeits. It doesn't solve the root cause and at best it's a band-aid for immigration problems.

            • Re:Papers Please! (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:46PM (#31415418)

              Typical government reaction to a problem: Making life harder for those who follow the rules, and not really impacting the relatively small percentage of people that are / cause the problem. This is how government always reacts. Couple of examples:

              I can't get sudafed at the store without showing ID, signing a register and waiting in line at the pharmacy. Bunch of people still making crystal-meth.

              I can't legally own a hand-gun in Chicago, yet 400 people a year get murdered with one.

              I, for one, advocate enforcing the laws that already exist...

          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Hurricane78 (562437) <.gro.todhsals. .ta. .deteled.> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:22AM (#31414016)

            Which of course is futile, since they hire people without papers anyway. Just like in every other country where you need papers to get a job.

            And they know that. So it’s not to keep off the “illegal immigrants” at all.

          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:54AM (#31414504) Journal

            The more unfortunate side effect is that the price of your garden salad will probably quadruple. All of this in the age old quest to stop more Catholics from immigrating.

          • Think of the fines (Score:4, Insightful)

            by iwaybandit (1632765) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:56AM (#31414528)
            Some employers may stop hiring illlegals, others will take the risk and continue hiring them. The glut of unemployed illegals will drive their wages down and increase the margins realized the employer hiring them.

            This is what the government wants. An employer caught hiring illegals will be fined and have assets confiscated. It will be a profit center for government, prosecuting and deporting illegals is not.
          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Shotgun (30919) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:18PM (#31414896)

            Immigration isn't difficult to control. Just go around to all the constructions sites and haul in all the workers that can't speak English. No, this isn't a troll. Those that can't speak English at all will either have some very fresh papers saying they can work here, or they will have a concerned family member monitoring them.

            But even then. This is a lame excuse for a national ID card. The "illegal immigrants" are here because they can make more in a month here than they can in a year at home. Our government could stop this illegal immigration in its tracks with a little patrolling of the border. But guess what; nobody in power wants to stop the flow of CHEAP labor. If they wanted, REALLY wanted, to contol the flow, they could set up a VISA system to control the work.

            An American employer would submit a request to a government agency responsible for vetting and admitting the immigrants. The same agency would have oversight of working conditions and seeing that the immigrants receive fair pay. The work gets done, everything is legal, and everyone's rights are protected.

            It's a simple solution that would be much less expensive than the current law enforcement model, and much less obtrusive that the current or future scams of making every citizen carry work papers. It won't happen though. "Illegal immigration" is just a red herring to distract people into surrendering their civil rights.

        • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:55AM (#31413662) Homepage

          Sorry, WHAT? How is this any different from the I-9 verification forms that you're required to complete when starting a new job?

          I honestly can't see how this is any worse than a Social Security card, passport, credit card, or drivers license. If you don't have one of those things, you're probably living completely off the grid anyway, and won't be affected by this at all.

          I'm mindful of civil liberties, but fail to see how this would do anything to change the status quo, apart from cutting down on counterfeiting.

          • Re:Papers Please! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:53PM (#31415526)

            Why don't we flip what you just said. "How is this any different from the I-9 verification forms that you're required to complete when starting a new job?"

            Exactly. We already have verifications in place to ensure that an employer's workforce is legit. They're already being ignored by employers who want cheap labor. Why do we think a *different* verification process which still relies on the employer's honesty is going to work any better than the one we already have? It won't, because the meatpacker who's knowingly hiring illegals today is going to knowingly hire them tomorrow too.

            So either the sponsors of this legislation are stupid (a possibility which I cannot at all discount) or there is an ulterior motive to this legislation (again, something I can't discount).

            At best this is going to be a colossal waste of money and a bureaucratic nightmare of tangles, as the government will have to pay to distribute these cards, and will then have to spend inordinate amounts of time fixing the database errors that prevent people from getting work.

            At worst this is going to be used to punish people the government is angry with. And I don't mean (necessarily) some Orwellian conspiracy where you either vocally support the government or you don't get to work anymore. I just mean "Oh. You cheated on your taxes back in 1995. Your work papers are revoked."

            Whether or not you believe that the government would ever intentionally oppress its citizens, why should we allow the government to install the machinery that would facilitate it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kjella (173770)

          So how exactly would you deal with an illegal alien that says "I don't need a work permit, I'm a US citizen and no, you can't see my birth certificate or anything else that proves that I am." And even if the birth certificate is issued by the hospital and not the government, it's practically useless without some kind of credible identification which 99 times out of 100 means government issued. Denying you this card should be on equal level with the government denying your identity and denying your citizensh

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 (626475)
      While I applaud the idea of FINALLY starting to do something about illegal migrant workers in this country, I do not favor a national ID card. It is bad enough that they try to use SS as one, but, I do not want a sanctioned national id.

      Sure, they'll start off requiring it ONLY for workers, but I'm sure they'll soon find creative ways to use it. I'm sure you can use it then to check for flight access. How about with cashing checks or even credit cards, nifty way to track purchases....maybe even stores will

      • Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by schon (31600)

        flight access [...] cashing checks or even credit cards [...]to track purchases [...] replacement for courtesy cards [...] health care, I mean we can now see that you buy WAY too much alcohol and cigarettes [...]the govt types will be able to come up with new, nifty ways to use a national id

        Wow - just WOW. You are aware that with the exception of "national health care", EVERYTHING you mentioned would be done by private businesses, right? And if idiots like you get their way and there is no "national health care", private insurance companies could use it the same way, right?

        Don't get me wrong - such an ID is a horrible idea - but it's a horrible idea because it will be abused by corporations.

        (Yes, I know - all the libertardians will now proceed to mod me down and talk about how the invisible

      • Re:Papers Please! (Score:5, Informative)

        by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:18AM (#31413146)

        Sure, they'll start off requiring it ONLY for workers

        That's not really an "ONLY", is it? The British government started off requiring them only for international (non-EU, IIRC) students and air-side airport workers. (The students is because there are loads of international students registered on fake courses at fake universities.)

        There are some useful arguments here [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk] and here [no2id.net].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by characterZer0 (138196)

        do something about illegal migrant workers in this country

        Yeah, we need to get rid of all those people harvesting the food we eat. That will fix everything!

  • Another card? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snspdaarf (1314399) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @09:59AM (#31412836)
    Why do we need another card? Seems to me that identity thieves have enough things to use already.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Don't worry, the UK government has been pushing for this for years. Technically it already exists, and about 5 volunteers have signed up for it. On the other hand, while certain groups have IIRC already been forced to have one, other test groups have outright rejected it.

      With an election coming up, I haven't seen a single reference in favour of ID cards from the Labour lot who are in power at the moment, and both the other big parties have said they will scrap the scheme. It's become a political nightmare f

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Perhaps because the existing cards don't cover and weren't designed for this particular application, and using the driver's licence would be stupid?

      • by deniable (76198)

        using the driver's licence would be stupid?

        Especially for people who can't drive for whatever reason.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:00AM (#31412854)

    Ain't gonna happen.

  • Papers please! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:00AM (#31412856) Homepage

    Seriously though...this idea would likely work just as it is being advertised, but the privacy implications of this are astounding. Then again, we only have the illusion of privacy at this point here in the US, so we may as well stop fooling ourselves....

    Remember kids, privacy != freedom

    • Re:Papers please! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#31414048)

      Remember kids, privacy != freedom

      It's been well-established that a lack of privacy discourages people from peaceful assembly and accessing other tools necessary to the success of a democracy. When we have designated protest zones in cages tipped with razor wire and a hundred cameras covering every angle, and people being profiled by the FBI and investigated as potential subversives for doing this, it becomes clear that privacy, while not being the same as freedom, is essential to it. One cannot survive without the other.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ThosLives (686517)

        I think this highlights the difference between 'privacy' and 'anonymity.' Subtly different concepts. I think when most people scream 'privacy!' they are really advocating anonymity.

        Privacy is being able to do things without others knowing about it. Anonymity is being able to do something without people knowing who you are. Notably privacy implies anonymity, but anonymity does not imply privacy. Case in point: if you are speeding in traffic, people know that there is someone speeding - it is not a private a

  • national ID (Score:4, Insightful)

    by confused one (671304) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:02AM (#31412880)
    This is a National ID card. Call it what it is and be done with it, don't try to hide it as part of an immigration bill.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      This is a National ID card. Call it what it is and be done with it, don't try to hide it as part of an immigration bill.

      Several states already have laws on their books preventing their executive branches from servicing a National ID card. A few years ago they called it "REAL ID".

      e.g. New Hampshire [state.nh.us]. Folks interested in these issues ought to come out [freestateproject.org] and lend a hand.

  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:02AM (#31412890)
    Who wants to bet that employers will just have a paper form to check off that they looked at your card rendering all the bio stuff useless?

    The only reason I mention that is because a social security card is also 'required' for employment, although I lost mine when I was a kid and have never shown it to any of my employers.

    I tell them I forgot it and they never ask again.
  • Make it so this card also has my drivers license, and passport (I assume it already has my social security since it's for work) and I am all for it. I am tired of having to to worry which ID i need to have on me. Drivers license (all the time), then passport when I fly (god help me if I forget this one), and now this?

    Gov't - stop making life cumbersome. With technology we can get everything we want, on a drivers license sized ID card. It shouldn't be that hard.

    Oh - and don't forget the most import
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lawrence_Bird (67278)

      hey why not add thier bank account data, IRS payment status, medical history, criminal record, fbi and other three letter agency file indices... I'm sure you could think of even more things that would make your life and the governements easier. Don't worry, next week the Senate takes up the 'lets wipe everyone's ass for them' bill.

  • Start with lawmakers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Josh Coalson (538042) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:07AM (#31412960) Homepage
    Fine, congressmen should get the cards first. If they still like the idea after 6 years, let them try and foist it on the rest of us.
  • "A person familiar with the legislative planning said the biometric data would likely be either fingerprints or a scan of the veins in the top of the hand. It would be required of all workers, including teenagers, but would be phased in, with current workers needing to obtain the card only when they next changed jobs, the person said. The card requirement also would be phased in among employers, beginning with industries that typically rely on illegal-immigrant labor.""

    What about virtual companies and telec

  • For those of you who are going to draw analogies to Soviet Russia, etc. and complain that this somehow violates our rights and so on: just think of all the "papers" we ALREADY have to carry in this country. A lot of fuss was made in anti-Soviet propoganda about the papers the Russians had to carry around, but try leaving your house some time in the U.S. without your driver's license, car registration, proof of insurance, etc. I'm pretty sure the cops aren't going to accept "But this is a free country!" in l

    • by langelgjm (860756)

      The difference is that requiring you to have a driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance helps ME if you hit me with your car. And you're entirely free to walk around or take public transportation without any kind of identification whatsoever. That's not the case in many other countries. In the US, you are only required to have (and carry) a driver's license if you want to drive. Unless there's some law I'm unaware of that requires everyone to learn how to drive, which there isn't.

    • by Zumbs (1241138)
      A drivers licence is a permit to drive a car. So, if you want to drive a car, you should be able to produce your permit when asked. If you walk out the door, and go on a stroll, there should be no reason to be able to produce a drivers licence. The issue here is that you need a card holding a large quantity of very private information on you, just to take a job. Furthermore, this information will have to be gathered into a big database, which suggests that it could be misused by whatever authorities can gai
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:09AM (#31412978) Homepage

    and let in all the illegals than give those fucks in washington not only a national id card but one with biometric data. Worse than the Nazis and Soviets.

  • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:09AM (#31412992)

    This is something that we need to harp on everytime the subject comes up. You cannot pass laws against illegal aliens to prevent them from working or participating in social programs, because we don't know who they are. You can only pass laws against everyone requiring them to prove they are a citizen. To require us to beg government approval before we can work or attend school, and hope there isn't a clerical error, or we never lose our papers at a bad time, or that the government won't someday extend this program to a larger scope.

    There are no laws against illegal aliens, there are only laws stating that we are all assumed guilty of being illegal aliens until we prove ourselves innocent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      That's the best argument I've seen. And as I recall, there is some SCOTUS decision that basically says you aren't required to prove or even admit who you are, unless you're a principle in a crime.

  • 666 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ixtol (1711166) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:12AM (#31413034) Homepage
    How long before people claim this as the mark of the Beast?
  • If the immigration system wasn't so fucked up to begin with we wouldn't be seeing this. Corruption in Mexico and on this side of the border is largely what causes the problems that this stupid card is supposed to fix. It will not fix them. Illegal aliens are nothing if not highly intelligent and resourceful. The U.S. government is nothing if not blundering and ill-managed. This will not fix the problem, but instead introduce new problems for those who didn't have them before. The cards will solve nothing. I
  • The Plans... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:16AM (#31413124)
    Ok, so worker will be required to get it when they next change jobs, and the industries that will be forced to require this first are the ones which typically hire the most illegals. The industries that hire the most illegals are construction, food service, etc. Those are also the industries where people are going to need to "change jobs" pretty soon, especially construction, due that sector having been hit the hardest by the economic issues. Yet again, this is just another way to control the poorer workers, all the while making them feel like having to register body scans to get a job building houses is for their own good 'cause it'll keep "illegals" from getting the jobs or "terrorists" from blowing them up.

    How come its OK for capital to transfer across borders but labor can't move freely? How come I have to go through more trouble to get legal working status in another country than I do to invest in a foreign stock market? Is it because the nation state is the new lord's estate and they want to keep me on the manor? And to make sure we don't get any funny ideas, the Daddy Party tries to tell us we should hate our neighbors and do anything necessary to keep them out, fomenting racism and causing all sorts of animosity on both sides of the border, and the water, making sure that we're just as unwelcome abroad as they are here... screw this shit.
  • Great idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:19AM (#31413156)

    Well, this completely solves the illegal immigration problem! I mean, it's not like people will give illegal immigrants jobs if they don't have valid "job cards." After all, then they would need to pay the immigrants cash under the table or something. And, of course, these cards will be 100% forgery proof so immigrants won't be able to just get a fake ID.

    Plus, there are no privacy concerns at all. I mean a card with your fingerprint and other personal information sitting right in your wallet? That's the most secure place I can think of. Nobody would ever lose their wallet or have it stolen. The card could never, ever go missing leading to identity theft. Nope. Simply impossible.

    Oh and did I mention the "E-Verify" online system to check the ID card's validity. A stroke of genius! It's sure to be 100% hack-proof like all good government sites are.

    Finally, there's no way this would ever be used for anything other than jobs. There will be no temptation for our completely honest politicians to extend this to travel, voting or any other use.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to clean my glasses. I think there's a smudge on the rose-colored lens.

  • ... don't want a fix to the problem.

    It's not good for business, and so MANY people don't want to fix the problem, it's never going to be solved in any real way.

    You know the I-9 form? You know how annoying it is? You know how many people have been prosecuted for falsifying information on the form?

    Two. That's it. Two cases.

    Either people here in the US are really, really honest, or there's no one out there investigating theses things.

    New technology won't change old behavior.

  • implant (Score:2, Insightful)

    awesome - this is the first step towards automatic identification - soon we will have the RFID chip implanted under your skin so with one wave of your hand anyone can know everything about you!

    i knew something like this would happen when immigration moved under the auspices of the Department of Fatherland Security.

    and RFID is so much nicer than barcodes or numbers just written straight on the skin...
  • Instead of using crap like this to stop illegals, do this instead:
    1.Do whatever is necessary to ensure legal American workers can get (and will try to get) the jobs that illegals are currently taking. Tie this work to unemployment benefits (i.e. if you are currently out of work and receiving any kind of government unemployment benefits you have to take these jobs. Possibly the government over there could do what the government here in Australia did and introduce "work for the dole" (which is where you work

  • by originalhack (142366) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:29AM (#31413270)
    The ID cards are not the problem. The problem is consequences.

    Today, it is cheaper to staff with undocumented workers and hope they don't get caught. If ALL employers had to verify the ID of all of their employees and contractors or face serious fines and all contractors (including household help) were required to show a verifiable ID and anyone who fails to check or falsifies faced serious penalties, this problem would be hugely reduced overnight.

    The real problem is that the big businesses (agriculture, meat packing, hospitality, commercial real-estate, etc..) want the cheap labor and won't let the problem be solved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jwhitener (198343)

      I googled, and found the fine to be up to 10,000 and 5 years in prison for employing, knowingly, illegal workers. 5 years in prison isn't insignificant. The problem is more likely that the employer didn't know (or claim to not know), and/or the illegal employee gave him counterfeit papers.

      As an employer, how can you be certain? If the person hands you a W2 from an old job, a valid looking ssn, what more should you do? And if the employer can't be certain without going to extreme lengths and background ch

  • It's official (Score:4, Interesting)

    by benjamindees (441808) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:31AM (#31413300) Homepage

    Federalism is officially a complete failure.

    The day I am forced to get an unconstitutional "biometric ID card" in order not to have my job opportunities, directly subsidized by taxes, government-sponsored monopolies and other expropriated wealth, stolen by an illegal immigrant is the day that it's time to dissolve the federal government and revert it's duties back to states that have some semblance of fiscal responsibility and individual rights.

    And I say this of course under the near-universal assumption (by now) that this, along with everything else the US government does, will do absolutely nothing to curb illegal immigration or salvage jobs or benefit Americans and instead will be used simply as another tool of inept government to punish the compliant and reward criminals and cheaters and traitor banks and businesses.

    The US is no longer a functional government. It can't regulate borders. It dissolves them and signs them away in supranational treaties. It can't regulate trade or abusive businesses. It supports them and bails them out when they fail. It can't win wars. It can't even define "winning" in terms of the bullshit wars it now engages in. It can't regulate reproduction or resource consumption or immigration or anything that actually affects the long term well-being of it's citizens. All it can do at this point is make token bullshit infringements on the rights of anyone unlucky or stupid enough to get in it's way, accomplishing absolutely nothing save crippling debt increases in the process.

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:40AM (#31413434)

    but would be phased in, with current workers needing to obtain the card only when they next changed jobs

    Well, that's scary. You could easily form a permanent underclass of never-employable again people with that plan.

    There's no point to getting a card unless its more effective than a passport or drivers license or military ID, or my freaking passport would be good enough so we wouldn't need this new thing. It took months to get my passport, including all kinds of hoops to jump thru for notarization and some special kind of birth certificate and other foolishness involving the local postmaster. I assume this new thing will be worse, otherwise we wouldn't need it. Its a safe assumption that in general, any time the govt does anything, its to make it worse for the middle class, and this specific situation seems to fit the mold.

    For a upper middle class employed dude like myself, a couple months time and a couple thousand bucks is annoying but no big deal, similar to replacing a leaking roof and fixing the damage. For dirt poor, unemployed, barely HS educated, how-mucha-month, joe six pack, he's screwed. What if J6P needs to hire a lawyer to fix some paperwork, or needs to pay up front to get docs from various agencies to prove his existence?

  • by RenHoek (101570) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:41AM (#31413460) Homepage

    It's funny how a lot of Americans are shouting "Dey took our jerbs!", but when you actually offer them the jobs that illegal immigrants are doing, i.e. scrubbing toilets for low wages, then suddenly they are too good for that kind of work.

    Illegal immigrants do not take away high-pay jobs, and those actual high pay jobs are routinely shipped off to India and alike anyway. Those immigrants are greasing the wheels of the economy, doing jobs that nobody else wants to do.

    I see it in my own country (Netherlands) where we have to ship in seasonal workers to harvest asparagus crops because they just can't get the local people to do the hard work.

    It'll be interesting to see the effects of this plan.

    • by macs4all (973270) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:08AM (#31413812)

      Illegal immigrants do not take away high-pay jobs, and those actual high pay jobs are routinely shipped off to India and alike anyway. Those immigrants are greasing the wheels of the economy, doing jobs that nobody else wants to do.

      Right.

      Because, until the massive influx of ILLEGAL immigrants in the U.S., toilets everywhere went unscrubbed, burgers went unflipped, no construction happened, lawns went unmowed, assembly-lines were silent...

      Keep on keepin' on regurgitating the "They only take the jobs nobody else wants" line.

      I have a good friend that is a ceramic-tile-setter. That is NOT a "Job nobody else wants." At 48 years old, his career (making about $20-30 an hour) is OVER; simply because he simply cannot support his family on the wages that an entire crew of ILLEGAL immigrants (who sleep THREE FAMILIES to a house) can be hired for.

      Sorry, the onslaught of ILLEGAL immigrants (in the U.S., mostly Mexicans) has ruined the U.S. economy. You see, it's a "trickle-UP" effect.

      • by radish (98371) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:57AM (#31414542) Homepage

        You know what? When some people find that their job doesn't pay enough for their lifestyle they look for a new, better paid job. Sometimes they go back to school to learn new skills, sometimes other people in the household start working so that they whole family isn't supported by one person (which is increasingly impossible).

        Of course some people just sit back on their asses and complain that it's the mexicans' fault for taking all the work. But that doesn't make sense - why is this guy entitled to more money just because of where he was born? Why should I (as the customer wanting my bathroom tiled) pay more just because he wants me to? And why should the government penalise people willing to work for less? Do we complain when Newegg sells us memory cheaper than elsewhere?

        It's really simple - if you're selling something in a market, be it a product or a service, no one owes you customers. No one owes you a business model (see copyright & RIAA, it's a popular topic around here). If you're charging too much, lower your prices. If you can't make enough profit at those prices, offer something else to distinguish yourself (maybe he does better quality work? maybe he could partner with a designer?). If that still doesn't work - figure out a different way to make money.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rudeboy777 (214749)

          I don't know why you picked on this poor fellow, but he's not railing against the free market. He's railing against the unfair price pressures of competing against criminals who don't have the same obligations (tax, insurance, supporting a family in the USA with a higher cost-of-living than Mexico) that those who play by the rules do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by winwar (114053)

          "But that doesn't make sense - why is this guy entitled to more money just because of where he was born?"

          Perhaps you missed the part about ILLEGAL immigrants? His job is being threatened by people breaking the law. The citizens of a country are entitled to set the laws that run a country within reason.

          I'm sorry but it's not reasonable to disrupt society and good well paying stable jobs to cater to illegal immigrants and cheap consumers and employers (both of which are breaking the law by hiring illegals).

  • Never happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Codger (96717) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:11AM (#31413850)

    Between the libertarian right, the religious crazies who will conflate this with the "mark of the beast", and the lefties who don't trust law enforcement, this will never get through Congress. If it ever came to a vote, the uproar in the intertubes and talk radio would be deafening and the tea party loonies would all die of apoplexy.

  • by dejanc (1528235) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:29AM (#31414112)

    I lived in USA for 6 years and the best thing there, in terms of citizen-government interaction, was that there was no mandatory ID cards.

    Sure, an ID card is not that big of a deal at first. It's not much unlike a DL (which almost everyone carries around all the time anyway), and it's not like the police can't track you down all the time.

    But this is what will happen:

    • First they mandate you always have to carry it with you.
    • Then, the police implies you have to show it to anyone with a badge on demand.
    • Finally, they will randomly stop you and check your ID... without a right that you refuse it.

    Here in Serbia, quite literally, I can't even take a walk in the park anymore without a cop stopping me and asking for ID...

  • by moxley (895517) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:05PM (#31414680)

    FUCK THAT!

    (seriously...in addition to the obvious reasons why this is such an awful idea, there is going to be a very large population of people who will see this as "the mark of the beast.")

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