The New National Identification System Is Coming

by David Bier on February 1, 2013 · 14 comments

in Features, Immigration, Nanny State, Personal Liberty, Privacy, Regulation, Zeitgeist

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“Maybe we should just brand all the babies.” With this joke, Ronald Reagan swatted down a national identification card — or an enhanced Social Security card — proposed by his attorney general in 1981. For more than three decades since, attempts to implement the proposal have all met with failure, but now national ID is back, and it’s worse than ever.

As in 1981, immigration restrictions have provided the justification. In the name of stopping illegal employment, proposals floated by a bipartisan group of senators would create both a physical national ID — an “enhanced” Social Security card — and even more menacingly an Internet-based, electronic ID that could be accessed anywhere to confirm identity.

After the election, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is leading the Democrats immigration push, told NBC News that one of his top priorities was to “make sure that there is a non-forgeable document” for all employees. After years of pushing for one, Sen. Schumer may have broken through GOP opposition. “We’re going to have to come up with something, but the principle we all agree on,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said this week.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Politico that he was for “a super Social Security card that would have some sort of biometric things like a fingerprint in it.” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)—also, a longtime supporter of national ID — agrees. “You’ll have documents that can’t be faked,” he told CBS News after the election.

This path was the inevitable consequence of America’s broken immigration system. First, Congress made it prohibitively difficult to come. Then, unable to enforce that, they conscripted businessmen to police their workforce for them. Now that document fraud has ruined this scheme, the government wants even more surveillance.

But national ID is more than just a card with a name and number — it is a system. It must contain data collected by the government on every legal worker that compares that name and number to you. This means the federal government must start collecting biometric information: pictures, fingerprints, retina scans, DNA, and whatever else is needed to make the system work.

Even worse than a physical card, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) has created an electronic national ID called electronic employment verification (EEV). The current rendition is known as E-Verify, which has combined DHS’s immigration database with the SSA’s database, containing your name, address, legal status, work authorization, and social security number.

The Senate immigration bill will mandate all employers use E-Verify to check the immigration status of their employees. Right now, employers can voluntarily submit the employee’s name and number to check if they match the name and number in the system. If the names or numbers don’t match, you must take further steps to prove your identity at SSA offices.

The system creates a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach to employment that also allows DHS to monitor every worker throughout the country. Some proposed mandates would require employees who work multiple jobs to automatically visit SSA offices — the new DMVs of employment — to prove that they really do work both jobs.

“People say ‘National ID,’ ” Sen. Schumer told Politico. “[But] that’s a card that you’d have to show whenever anyone, a police officer or anyone came up to you.” Actually, that’s not true. National ID is any mandatory system that could identify you at any given time. E-Verify combined with biometrics from state DMVs or elsewhere would meet that definition.

National ID need not be shown every time you go outside — it could just be used at checkpoints, airports, and toll booths or to access the Internet, firearms, prescription drugs, jobsites, or apartment buildings. Both the federal government and several states already prohibit renting to unauthorized immigrants. Potential tenants may soon be required to pass E-Verify to obtain housing with a similar “multiple homes” check.

To argue that the same expansion of use — already being applied to the SS card — will not also apply to E-Verify is not believable. The calls for a national ID — electronic or otherwise — by these senators undermine their credibility when they claim their plan will actually stop illegal entries at the border. If it did, national ID and E-Verify would be unnecessary. America needs immigration reform, but what it doesn’t need is more bureaucracy and universal surveillance.

Karine February 4, 2013 at 9:21 am

I’m all for it … Only those that have something to hide will protest …

Washington February 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm

You are a fool. Freedom is important. Learn history for one thing!

This is why our founders gave us the Fourth Amendment! Look it up!

Britnee February 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Not necessarily Karine. I used to feel the same way as you do on this issue about things in general. But then in the past few years I grew out of the idea that the government was an additional parent and allowed to direct my life/future. I have nothing to “hide” per se, but I do enjoy privacy and the ability to share personal things with people that I know on my own terms versus the government having access to ‘me’ entirely. Liberty seems to disappear slowly. It is not an overnight switch from freedom to oppression, American ideals in 1776 to real life Germany circa 1944.

spencer February 6, 2013 at 12:39 am

^ That is an incredibly dangerous statement….

Kathryn February 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Your incredibly ignorant statement is exactly why this county is experiencing a massive push by government to interfere in every aspect of American’s lives. Wake the hell up!!!!!!

Peter Holt Hoffman February 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Karine:

You mean people like the Jews in pre-war Germany? People with something to hide?

You mean people like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who was critical of the USSR? Someone with something to hide?

Do you send your mail in an envelope instead of using a postcard? Do you have something to hide?

You didn’t put your full name on your post — do you have something to hide?

I’m just wondering. Can you explain, please because I’m not understanding you.

Elizabeth February 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Karine, that’s one of the dumbest arguments ever. It’s the same thing law enforcement says when they demand DNA samples from suspects — or even entire neighborhoods — after a crime. But the truth is MANY people, myself included, who have “nothing to hide” will resist any sort of national ID card that includes biometric information, such as my DNA or fingerprints. And we will resist this simply to exercise our civil rights. The government has no need of (or right to) our biometric information. There are plenty of other less-invasive measures for addressing immigration problems. Also, may I say John McCain might as well just call himself a Democrat now, since he no longer in any way supports conservative values.

Derek February 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I think the Germans were all for it too.

Dave February 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Karine…I truly hope you were being sarcastic! This kind of stuff is over the top.

Mark February 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.
Rev 13:16-17 (NLT)

bloo booboo February 7, 2013 at 6:48 am

Karine is a troooooll

Toejam February 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

Heck, if this I.D. system was in place 50 years ago we’d have proof positive Obama was born in Kenya.

Ron Paul February 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

Who cares? There would just be another puppet sitting in his place.

Texas_infidel February 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

@Karine
Typical socialist comment! Get a f***ing clue!

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