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US Immigration Bill May Bring a National Biometric ID Card 619

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: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:Another card? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:07AM (#31412948)

    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 for the government.

    FWIW, the really insidious thing here in the UK isn't actually the cards, it's the all-in-one database that is behind them. Curiously, the Conservatives (who are likely to win power later this year) seem to have been a bit quiet about that.

  • 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 [] and here [].

  • 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:Meh (Score:4, Informative)

    by BrianRoach ( 614397 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:33AM (#31413328)

    A social security card is not required. It can be used as a "List C" document for the I9 form. []

    I simply use my passport since it's a "List A" document. Which begs the question ... why is it that we need something more than that? Like this new thing is going to be "unforgeable" ?

  • by furby076 ( 1461805 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:43AM (#31413484) Homepage

    Does Congress really live in a fantasy land where illegal immigrants are hired to positions where they supply SSNs, drivers licenses, etc? In my experience the vast majority of businesses employing illegal labor do so by paying them in cash. "Come work with us for a day putting up drywall, there's a few sawbucks in it for you." No amount of biometrics will stop this.

    Illegal immigrants use stolen socials to get said jobs...yes it happens, and yes it is significant. Those socials are also used by criminals who are trying to avoid detection, used by people trying to steal benefits, used by people trying to get loans and defaulting on them, etc. It's a huge issue. SS theft is extremely bad - it hurts the person who had their information stolen (getting your SS changed is next to impossible). It hurts the businesses who got screwed out of loan money (which in turn raises the prices for the general public).

  • by fulldecent ( 598482 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:52AM (#31413610) Homepage

    >> Does Congress really live in a fantasy land where illegal immigrants are hired to positions where they supply SSNs, drivers licenses, etc?

    No. The public lives in a fantasy land. They also believe that the only thing between them and immortality (guaranteed healthcare for the rest of their natural and unnatural lives) is passage of a bill in congress.

  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:15AM (#31413890) Homepage Journal

    In the Netherlands, having your fingerprints taken when applying for a new passport became obligatory last year. The government pretended that this was necessary in order to fight terrorism, although the measure is way more severre than what the European Union requires governments to do. There were and still are some civil rights organizations protesting against this security craze.

    A very unfortunate side effect of this became visible at the latest elections. People were required to bring a passport along with their voter's registration card. 200,000 voters, a significant percentage of the country's registered voters, didnot have such an ID, for various reasons ( poverty, ignorance, laxism, protest ). Thus, they were excluded from the most fundamental mechanism underlying a democracy: voting.

    Americans, beware !

  • anyone who has an opinion about this can contact Senator Schumer [] and Senator Graham []
  • 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 elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:49AM (#31414432)
    For the third time in this thread I would point out that many states do, in fact, require you to carry ID's at all time, and the Supreme Court has upheld that. So just try to tell a cop that you don't need to show him your papers sometime. And enjoy your night in jail.
  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:55AM (#31414512)
    Save America!
    Lynch your Congressman
  • by Knitebane ( 64590 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:13PM (#31414822) Homepage
    Of course he does. And he also knows (as should you) that the users of that "guaranteed" health care regularly come to the US to get quality work done rather than wait in line for the rationed health care in "almost every other country."
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:21PM (#31414958)
    As Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada [] made clear, simply telling the officer your name is not sufficient. No photo id? Do not pass Go, go directly to jail.
  • Re:national ID (Score:3, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:58PM (#31416506) Homepage Journal

    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 []. Folks interested in these issues ought to come out [] and lend a hand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @03:39PM (#31417834)

    In most states you can vote without showing a photo ID.
    In some states, you may be required to vote a provisional ballot, In other states you may have to affirm that you do not have a government Issued ID.

    For more details see:

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.