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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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  • 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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:27AM (#31413248)

    Driver's Licenses were, when initially set up, just that... a LICENSE. A piece of paper with a government seal saying you were approved to drive, just like a hunting license. No ID, no address and issued by the STATE.

    A national ID, weakens the powers of the states and gives the federal government more control over your daily life... IE as in now you need papers just to seek employment and eventually to get healthcare that the government approves you to have.

    As the saying goes, you can't throw a frog into a boiling cooking pot but you can sure turn up the heat over time and they won't know the difference...

    But hey... chocolate rations are up.

  • 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?

  • DaveGillam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaveGillam ( 880499 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:51AM (#31413586)
    Bypassing all the arguments for and against this plan, I notice an interesting detail in the article. It applies to employers and employees (form W2) only. It apparently does not apply to business owners or freelancers (form 1099). So all the independent people (lawnkeepers, housekeepers, pool cleaners, handymen, freelancing programmers, etc) won't be affected by this either way, at least at first. They'd have to expand it to apply to everyone asking for any kind of service (hospitals, unemployment, banks, groceries) to have it affect 100% of the population. So if you want to avoid this card as long as possible, just start your own service business, or convince your employer to convert you to a form 1099 contractor, instead of a form W2 employee. You'll have to work out the pay scale to afford your vacations, insurance, and other perks, but that's workable. Also, if a lot of people become their own bosses, they technically always will have a job (their own business), so the unemployment lines would diminish. Theoretically. ;-)
  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @10:55AM (#31413652)

    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.

  • by SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:05AM (#31413770)

    Federal employees are already being issued biometric ID cards.

  • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:27AM (#31414084)

    > no coincidence that the US transitioned from an open immigration society to a closed
    > society in the 20s and 30s

    Uh.... The Emergency Quota Act was passed in 1921. What entitlements were being doled out in 1921? Note that the act didn't place any limits on immigration from Latin America and placed the limit on Northern/Western Europe higher than actual immigration levels; it was basically targeted at limiting immigration from Eastern/Southern Europe. And that had more to do with "those people aren't like us" than with entitlements. [] has a good summary.

    Of course the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 can hardly be explained by entitlements as well.

    The truth is that immigration restrictions in the US have always had more to do with the existing population feeling that the ethnic balance is threatened than with anything else. That's exactly what's going on now too.

    Now I agree that entitlements make it more appealing for people to immigrate to the US. But the country was pretty appealing in the early 20th century too.

  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:27AM (#31414088) Homepage

    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 citizenship, and if so you're in deep shit one way or the other.

    Here in Norway we have a national ID for all residents, not just permanent residents or citizens. If anything it's a help against ID theft and ID confusion. If some other person with my name has taken up a loan and is moving around, nobody will come knocking at my door because it's issued to person 456132123 and not 4561621650. Of course anyone can steal my id as well as one based on name but it'll mostly hurt just that person.

    P.S. There's still quite a few people that in whole or part do black labor, usually it's either unemployment fraud, disabilities fraud, tax fraud (like people do their regular work but take cash and pretend they didn't work) or just getting extra income that isn't taxed by people with legal residence. And from what I understand illegal aliens work quite a bit in food shops, extra clerks, cleaning, various manual labor where's it's not so obvious where the money is going...

  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:36AM (#31414240)

    Currently, legal immigrant or legal non-immigrant temporary workers who do not have a green card already must have an "employment authorization document", which is a similar card to the proposed--it contains a fingerprint and bar code, and you have to present it to an employer before you can be hired. Just like this current system does not deter employers from hiring illegal immigrants and illegal immigrants from obtaining jobs, the proposed new card won't stop them either. I don't see the point.

    About the only positive thing that may come out of it is that if US citizens are inconvenienced in the same way as legal foreign workers are now, the procedure for getting a work permit/id card might actually become more efficient and less error-prone simply because US citizens will complain, and US bureaucrats and law makers will listen because US citizens can vote. We legal foreign workers can't vote, so no one gives a rat's ass when a mistake from the System causes us grief.

  • Re:Wake up (Score:1, Interesting)

    by niteice ( 793961 ) <> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @11:44AM (#31414338) Journal

    track its own people without warrant


    lifetime punishments for every crime


    silence anyone with an unfavorable opinion


    Please stop being so paranoid. It's not healthy.

  • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st ( 1388939 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:06PM (#31414686)

    because employers do not need to comply with costly labor laws.

  • 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...

  • Congress First (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pu'u_bear ( 137654 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:13PM (#31415820)

    I would be much more, okay, slightly less paranoid about things like this with one change. Any legislation like this applies to the members of government FIRST. You want a single biometric ID for all workers, after you, Senator. Don't think we need warrants for wiretaps, fine, we will just install this nice little device on all your phones, and the transcripts can go straight to wikileaks. Have a problem with "government run health care"? Fine, we will just take away your health plan (it's government run after all). Good luck finding insurance now, Mr. Old White guy with a bad heart.

  • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:26PM (#31416028) Homepage

    See for example Marshall Brain's writings: [] []

    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): []

    So, ID cards and worries about illegal immigrants are all a distraction from rethinking the economy along the lines of having some mix of a basic income, local subsistence production from 3D printing and organic gardening, a gift economy like GNU/Linux, better resource-based planning, making work into play, a spread of local currencies and LETS systems, and lots of other possibilities I helped organize here for moving beyond a jobless recovery: []

    If you want to worry, worry about how to build an economy where we get past the irony of using abundant military robots to enforce a scarcity-based economic system designed around getting humans to work like robots. :-)

  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:55PM (#31416480) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:Wake up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:20PM (#31416760) Journal

    Not sure why you decided to bring race or color into the one said what color or race illegal immigrants were in this argument.

    It's pretty simple, it's because I've worked in those fields, and I can tell you: there aren't very many white Americans who A) are willing to do so and B) are any good at it. I've seen similar problems in construction, although it is not as pronounced. It makes sense though: in America, anyone with any kind of work ethic will be able to get a college degree or learn some kind of skilled trade (plumber, ag inspector). The only ones left to work in the fields are lazy people or immigrants who don't have similar opportunities in their own countries.

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

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:23PM (#31416790) Homepage

    > 1) The government has more force to throw at you than any dissenting group could hope to match. The
    > government has pretty much a monopoly of force.

    Currently true. Personally, I think that this is exactly the situation that the second amendment tried to avoid. Sadly narrow interpretation has hamstrung it and left us in this sad state.

    Of course, I simply pointed out the second amendment as evidence that this state of affairs was not intended and that it is the right of the people to overthrow despots. I never said a revolution HAS to be violent. I would be happy to convene a new constitutional convention.... or 50 (no, I don't particularly want a strong federal union... if anything, maybe something like the EU)

    > 3) It is the low road, and pretty much says that you completely given up on the American people, or on
    > any chance of fixing the American discourse.

    Low? Maybe. Its not so much the people as the bureaucracy that I have essentially 0 faith in. They have shown absolutely no real interest in representing what I see as liberty in any meaningful way. if anything, they approach whats left of liberty as an unfortunate hinderance to their ideas, rather than a core value.

    I have 0 faith that they have any intention to do anything but maintain their dominance, and line their own coffers.

    > I personally dread the day when people take up guns against their elected government. First because the
    > term "elected", by picking up guns your saying that you know better than the voters, which to me, is
    > tyrannical

    This presumes fair elections. I submit that the system of choosing who ends up on the ballot AND the system of voting itself, constitute systematically unfair elections that highly favor the hegemony of two parties that are willing to collude to break up issues between them as a method of effectively shutting out any voices but their own.

    As such, I don't, personally, recognize the legitimacy of said elections. I pay my taxes, of course, because they are the biggest gang in town and I am genuinely afraid of their thugs. That should not be construed as I actually consent to their governance or consider them "my government", any more than I would MS13 if they came into my shop and told me I had to pay for protection from their thugs too.

    Personally I advocate the progressive marginalization of the government as an entity, as a new form of revolution. De-legitimization in the eyes of the masses, replacement of their functions by other entities where possible, wholesale subversion of their "laws" when applicable. Just as I would for any other armed gang of thugs.

    As an anarchist (of the libertarian socialist variety), I have no desire to force my ideas on anyone but... I certainly don't advocate being a collaborator with thugs. I do however advocate self defense, and being prepared enough so that, should the day come, they need to think twice about clamping down and restricting liberty too much further.

    If they simply did not attempt to use their thugs to enforce social engineering, I would happily treat them like any other legitimate organization which might need a force to defend itself but, otherwise respected others.


  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @03:54PM (#31418060)

    #1 is an assumption, and a big one.

    You act like the person was abused and paid poorly. Many of the people I know that go by Home Depot or whatever corner they happen to be on pay them very well (+10$/h). Food and drink is even provided. You take care of them.

    The reason why this occurs is because it is usually a PITA to find 'legitimate' contractors in the first place, and their rates are too high. Not to mention when you need something done quickly you can't get the 'legitimate' contractors to come out when you need them, or it is extra.

    We can argue about #2, but saying the illegal labor was exploited is not always true.

    Those illegal laborers that you want to protect from exploitation also work pretty damn hard, and some have a fantastic work ethic. Something which seems to be disappearing from the 'legitimate' labor pool.

  • Re:The Plans... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @04:04PM (#31418228) Journal

    Do you care if your neighbor is from your own culture and thus understands, for example, that it's not acceptable to make loud noises at night because most folks work during the day? And thus someone from a culture where partying outside well into the morning hours is going to be bothering the hell out of you?

    Wait... so them teenagers are all dirty foreigners? I KNEW IT!!!

    The same argument was made with the Irish, and the Italians, and what do we think now? Is there anything more American than going out to a bar on St. Patty's day and drinking yourself drunk. And more so, is there anything more American than our pizza, spaghetti, etc?

    This "culture" argument is stupid, and has been blown off hojillions of times before in our culture.

  • Re:Papers Please! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @04:21PM (#31418462) Homepage Journal

    3. Needed a job done, found a person who was looking for one and paid him an amount that both agreed to. Capitalism, pure and simple. If only governments and large corporations could understand this.

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

    by shiftless ( 410350 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @08:55PM (#31421692) Homepage

    t's considerably different. For one thing, merely crossing the border doesn't deny you of or remove any of your property or resources.

    Bullshit. Soon as he crosses the border, he's breathing my air, drinking water, eating food, driving on roads, etc. He IS taking up resources simply by being there. A small amount, sure, but put him and his 20 million buddies in the U.S. side by side and suddenly the amount is not quite so small is it? When 20 million people drive over our roads, how much more quickly do they wear out, and who's paying to fix them? And when a van full of Mexicans driving at twice the speed limit (not a single valid drivers' license to be found amongst them) crashes and seriously injures all 23 inside, who gets to pay their $800k worth of surgery and medical charges? You and me of course, because the illegals damn sure aint paying for it.

    There are definitely immigrants who steal and/or defraud the government, but those are crimes the justice system can handle. For another, concept of a domicile doesn't scale up to a state level because it's rooted in private ownership. Places accessible to the public are public and in a free country, that means anyone can travel there.

    No, it doesn't mean "anyone can travel there." It means that property is owned by the public, i.e. the citizens. The people of the U.S. own this land, and we can come and go as we please. We reserve the right to allow others to visit our land as well provided certain conditions have met. Illegal immigrants are those who did not meet our requirements for immigration yet who snuck in anyway, or overstayed their welcome. I know times are tough in Mexico, but this is OUR fucking land, so go your ass home and make something happen there instead of running away from your problems like a coward.

    Governments are neither private individuals, with living rooms to protect, nor corporations. They don't have owners or stockholders to whom they have an obligation to provide profit or gain to. Governments, specifically the US Government, are put in place to ensure the liberty and welfare of all they have jurisdiction over to the best of their ability.

    One of the U.S. government's biggest and most important obligations is to PROTECT AND DEFEND this nation's property. Allowing anyone to come and go as they please, using up our nation's resources freely and limitlessly, living outside the law, is NOT acceptable to me or to the vast majority of American citizens who have any common sense.

    You know what the difference between Americans back in Revolution days vs now is? It's like the difference between a 16 year old who, after saving up money from summer jobs for years, buys an old project car and fixes it up, vs the 16 year whose millionaire daddy buys him a Ferrari for his birthday. Which one do you think better appreciates what he's got? There are people in other countries who would give anything, risk it all to have what we have here in America. Despite what other governments may think, I can tell you there are a LOT of peoples in the world that look up to us and who want to follow our example.

    What do you think they dream about when they imagine America? They think of beautiful homes and people, clean, sparkling cities, fabulous wealth. They don't dream about an L.A. ridden by gang problems (many of them immigrants, legally or not), outrageous health care costs (due in part to illegals), outrageous car insurance costs (due in part to illegals), higher taxes (needed to improve roads and other infrastructure worn by the extra use), etc, I'd imagine.

    This nation has a lot of problems. Instead of lamely sitting by while they continue to pile up, it's time for our government to take action to solve some of them. Illegal immigration is a big problem, one that most Americans would be happy to see solved. This new legislation doesn't stand a chance, though, I can guarantee that. It will FAIL, or pass only against stiff opposition. Remember the big stink against the Real ID Act a few years ba

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek