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Papers Please: Democrat Edition

While the debate rages over Arizona’s new immigration law (as you can guess, my opinion is line with the traditional libertarian views expressed eloquently by Cato, Reason and McArdle), let it not be said that the Democrats are the defenders of civil liberties.  Apparently, their version of immigration reform is going to include a national ID card complete with biometric information.

A plan by Senate Democratic leaders to reform the nation’s immigration laws ran into strong opposition from civil liberties defenders before lawmakers even unveiled it Thursday.

Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

The ACLU, bless them, has blown a gasket.

“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.

To be fair, you usually need ID for a job anyway.  But there’s a large gap between your ordinary driver’s license and what the Democrats want.  Specifically, the word “biometric”.

The ACLU said “if the biometric national ID card provision of the draft bill becomes law, every worker in America would have to be fingerprinted.”

A source at one pro-immigration reform group described the proposal as “Orwellian.”

Damn straight.  Once this biometric database is created, it will almost certainly be used by law enforcement.  We can then expect partial fingerprints to produce the same problems that cold searches of DNA databases are creating.

(The above referenced article bears a mention.  It’s about cold cases being broken through searches of DNA databases of criminals.  The problem is that juries are told, or example, that the chance of crime scene DNA matching criminal X is in a million But if you have a million names in your database, the chance of matching someone at random is actually two out of three.  You can imagine what might happen with a fingerprint database of 300 million, especially with an Administration inventing entirely new categories of crime.)

The Democrats dust off the old mantra—used just this week by people defending the Arizona bill—that we have to show ID when we buy alcohol or fly an airplane.  But those are choices; this is a requirement.  (Although I will lay good odds that this new ID card will not be required to vote.) And again, biometric information is not required in those circumstances.

Then there’s this:

The Social Security Administration has estimated that 3.6 million Americans would have to visit SSA field offices to correct mistakes in records or else risk losing their jobs.

I expect this is just the tip of the iceberg for Unintended Consequences.  Eventually, the Democrats will figure out that the insurance mandate can be enforced with this national ID.

Not much changes in politics.  The Democrats who were screaming about Arizona are now embracing a national biometric ID card.  And it’s a near certainty that the Republicans defending the Arizona law will be screaming about the national ID card.  In the meantime, while they play their game of bullshit ping-pong, we ordinary Americans sit in the middle, with our freedom being slowly eaten away.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/30/10 at 04:55 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • Permalink


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