Deceptive national ID plan pushed by Sens. Schumer and Graham

In Washington, DC some advocates of government power are hopelessly naive about the dangers of enhanced government power, while others are basically deceptive about it.  Sometimes, it’s simply difficult to tell the difference.  A recent article jointly penned by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), extolling the virtues of a national identification card, illustrates the problem.

In an opinion piece that appeared recently in the Washington Post, ostensibly dealing with a subject almost everyone seems to agree on – immigration reform — Graham and Schumer joined forces to advocate for a “tamper-proof” ID card with biometric identifiers embedded in it, that would be required to be carried by every person in the country seeking work.  Potential employers would be required to swipe each individual’s card through a machine in order to verify their identity and “immigration status” as a prerequisite to hiring them.  In order to meet the objections that many millions  of Americans have to being forced to carry a national ID card, the two senators write that there would be “no government database,” and that the card would contain no “private information” or “tracking devices.”   In trying to convince us that an employment-verification national ID establishing identity and immigration status would not be linked to any government database, these two senators are exhibiting either gross naivity about how government works, or they are callously trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.  Or perhaps both.

The fact of the matter is, if an identification card is to establish a person’s true and current immigration status, then by definition there must be a way to verify the information; otherwise it is pointless to require the card in the first place and there would be no way to be certain it had not been tampered with.  Moreover, every single time the government — any government — has instituted an identification system, it has been accompanied sooner or later — and inevitably — with a database.  In this digital age it is much easier than in the previous, analog data era to create, capture, store, manipulate, retrieve, share, and track data.  Any notion that the government would not realize this, or would simply forego the ability to thus use important data, is ridiculous in the extreme.

In the case of Sen. Graham, it may be that he honestly — if naively — believes the government would spend billions of dollars developing a biometic-based employment-verification identification card, and then never link it to an electronic database in order to establish the validity and current status of the persons presenting the cards.  Sen. Schumer, however, has never been accused of being naive, and I have never seen him exhibit the slightest evidence of being unwise to the ways of government.  He is a clever man, and bright; and he has long been an advocate of enhanced government power.  He certainly understands that a national identification card without being linked to some form of database would be as useless as a Blackberry without a telecommunications service provider.

Advocates of a national identification card have been hanging around the nation’s capitol for decades.  Ronald Reagan abhored them in the 1980s when he was asked to support such a plan; Bill Clinton similarly opposed the notion in the next decade.  Since 9/11, however, spurred especially by the administration of President George W. Bush and many Republicans and Democrats alike in the Congress, the idea of a national ID for “security” purposes has gained significant ground.  Still, opposition to the idea by grassroots America has stalled the implementation of such projects as the REAL ID plan.  Hopefully, this latest wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing  move by Sens. Graham and Schumer, in which they gloss over one of the primary elements of a national ID, will be similarly and successfully opposed by the American people.

36 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

April 7th, 2010
6:43 am

Say in a German accent: “Can I see your paaaaaapers?

I’m still waiting on the Repubs to publish their proposed immigration bill,…

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
6:54 am

Excellent argument. I will never understand the anti-immigrant mentality, not really. When I press the point with my anti-immigrant friends, the talk inevitably turns to government benefit programs. Why do we waste so much legislative effort attempting to control that which the free-market does a better job controlling, when the more productive effort would be expended reining in the wasteful elements of the “safety net?” This is no different that every other element of nanny-state control of our lives – one law leads to another.

Principles to remember:
(1) Congress is incompetent to determine the number of immigrants our economy needs. (For the same reasons the Congress is incompetent to dictate the number of cars that ought to be manufactured, or the number of newspapers that ought to exist.)
(2) In its mindless enforcement of laws born from incompetence, the Congress creates need for more laws.

The better solution – rather than criminal laws against employers who merely hire people available to work, or Nazi-like “papers” to permit passage – is to cut the Gordian knot, and get Congress out of the immigrant quota business. If we wish laws requiring immigrants to speak English and conform behavior to a standard at least as proficiently as those of the dregs of the inner city, I will support legislation. But if the problem is “the safety net,” let’s reform the safety net rather than adding more to our already-unenforceable criminal code.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
7:18 am

And what to do if people won’t show their papers? Times Online reports today:

The Obama Administration has authorised the targeted killing of an American citizen in what is believed to be an unprecedented move in the War against Terror.

According to US media reports, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been linked to last November’s attack on Fort Hood, Texas, and the failed Christmas day airline bomb plot, has been approved for capture or killing.

[...] jointly penned by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), extolling the virtues of a national identification card, illustrates the [...]

R C W

April 7th, 2010
8:49 am

Graham is starting to scare me! His position on aiding Obama with the Gitmo closure and now a national ID card. I think he fell off the elephant and landed on his Jack A**. What self respecting Republican would want to be known for associating with Chuck Shumer? Actions like this force me to watch only Fox News and declare I am an Independent.

DON’T RE-ELECT ANYBODY!

neo-Carlinist

April 7th, 2010
9:10 am

seems to me we already have a “national ID” card/system; it’s called a Social Security number. and, it also seems to me the government can arrest/kill Americans now (it’s called our criminal justice system/death penalty). seems to me that immigration isn’t really a problem anymore than drugs are a problem. if there were no demand for immigrant labor, immigrants would not come here in search of work. Norte Americanos certainly aren’t sneaking into Mexico, Honduras and Guatamala in search of work. Punish those who employ undocumented workers and leave the rest of us alone.

Paulo977

April 7th, 2010
9:17 am

Iguess if the Bush Bandits had rammed it through it would have had your blessings!!!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
9:33 am

Dear neo @ 9:10, until now a trial was required before the government could kill people. (Killing innocents in the womb is tolerated for private individuals, but government has not previously done that.)

As to the employer-immigration issue: rather than deal with the alternatives of (1) potential criminal penalties for hiring an immigrant, and (2) the ever-present risk of a discrimination suit for failure to hire one whose citizenship is suspect (when hiring a six-generation American instead,) the rational employer says “to heck with it” and does not hire anyone. Another constraint on the economy.

scrappy

April 7th, 2010
9:49 am

Ragnar @ 9:10 – Are you Naive? The government has been killing people since 1776, we the people just didn’t know about it. (btw – it is the killing of cells in a woman’s reproductive organ that is tolerated by the public)

Elephant Whip

April 7th, 2010
9:51 am

Nationwide ID is step one to Big Brother…or Armageddon, whichever dire consequence of one-world goverment you prefer.

Once the a nationwide ID with biometric information is required, it will soon be adapted so that it can be inserted in the back of the hand or on the forehead and scanned for financial transactions, entrance into airports, employment, Obamacare. Refusing this will become very difficult.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
9:57 am

Dear scrappy @ 9:49, yes, I am naive. Government killings of American citizens were previously not sanctioned without trial or at least without an “imminent danger self-defense” standard. As to abortion of viable fetuses, Roe v Wade still permits. (Indeed, as the definition of “viable” continues to work backwards toward the time of conception, the distinction may soon be meaningless.)

No More Progressives!

April 7th, 2010
10:14 am

There is absolutely nothing deceptive about Chuck Schumer. He’s an avowed socialist, like his hero Little Barry Soetoro, and will do anything to garner more control over the populace. He clearly needs to go next election cycle.

No More Progressives!

April 7th, 2010
10:19 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
7:18 am

“The Obama Administration has authorised the targeted killing of an American citizen in what is believed to be an unprecedented move in the War against Terror.”

With all due respect, Sir. In order to be treated like a Citizen, one must comport one’s self to act like a Citizen. When you flee the country and advocate the killing of many by means of terrorism, methinks that makes you a combatant, and treasonous in the least. The penatly is sever.

Drew

April 7th, 2010
11:07 am

This is what we deserve for not electing Dr. Ron Paul, who was the ONLY conservative actually running for President on ‘08. Bush, Obama and McCain stood (stand) for the same things: endless illegal wars, less freedom, fewer civil liberties, and big nanny-state government.

leeh1

April 7th, 2010
11:08 am

I already have a passport which shows I’m an American citizen, and which I need to re-enter the country when I go somewhere else.
I already have a driver’s liscense which is need to drive in all the states of the union, which has my name, address and state number on it.
I already have my social security card, which is needed to get a job.

One new card to combine all three would be easier, and would prevent people from getting different driver’s licesnes in different states, pretending to be someone else, and helping identify crooks who use different names to evade the law.

This is not a comfortable or easy thing to say, but then, we don’t live in an easy or comfortable world today.

Rational Person

April 7th, 2010
11:50 am

“Ronald Reagan abhored them in the 1980s …”

Use that spellchecker, Bob!

24AheadDotCom

April 7th, 2010
11:59 am

1. It’s not surprising that Barr would think everyone agrees we need “reform”, since (way back in 2008) I pointed out that he seemed to have swiped his position on this issue from McCain or BHO: http://24ahead.com/n/7625

2. Then, a few months later, I pointed out how his more detailed plan appeared to be an outright attempt to deceive: 24ahead.com/n/7832

3. Just to take one point, would Barr admit that what he supports would give even more power inside the U.S. to foreign governments, specifically MX? If he doesn’t admit that, then that shows just how little this former Congressman knows about this issue. If he does admit that, then he either doesn’t care about giving a foreign government political power inside the U.S. (and taking some amount of power away from U.S. citizens) or he has a detailed plan to deal with the issue. I suspect it’s the former, but if it’s the latter let’s hear the detailed plan.

Bookin Weasel

April 7th, 2010
12:05 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld @6:54 am:

“Excellent argument. I will never understand the anti-immigrant mentality, not really.”

What part of ILLEGAL immigrant do you fail to perceive? Are you that much of a dullard that you can’t grasp the simple fact that the push for this card is due to the ILLEGAL immigrant problem and not “anti-immigrant” mentality that you have advanced?

Whether people overstay their visas or come through the border is irrelevant. They are here ILLEGALLY. Anti-immigrant. The battle cry of the witless.

Let the calls of xenophobe, racist, narrow-minded begin… blah, blah, blah…my point stands.

dbm

April 7th, 2010
12:23 pm

Bookin Weasel

April 7th, 2010
12:05 pm

The point is that all immigration should be legal. Immigration quotas are immoral and impractical.

Barack

April 7th, 2010
12:49 pm

I think this is an excellent idea. I propose that we link this National ID card to a new National Healthcare Card. That way we can learn all we need to know about every American citizen inside and out. I will call this little initiative…Big Brother. It will become known as “Obrother”. I will be the # 1 Brother.

jconservative

April 7th, 2010
1:19 pm

1. We can’t afford to implement such a plan; we have a growing deficit you know.

2. My wife was born in and spent her first 5 years in a dictatorship where carrying an official “ID” was the law. She could have been locked up as a five year old for not having her “papers”. We still have the “papers”.

3. If you are afraid of terrorist, tough. You will probably be killed on the highway anyway, so do not worry about terrorist.

Fix-It

April 7th, 2010
1:31 pm

I have an immigration bill, make law enforcement do their job and uphold the current paws on the books. Then every time an illegal alien, because that is what they are ILLIGAL, breaks or comes into contact with the law, we send them home. Who cares about anchor babies, send them with the parents. Then bring all of our troops home and put them on our borders, isn’t that what the federal government is supposed to do, protect our borders? Every time I hear “comprehensive reform” that is a buzz word for we will do nothing, so do something…

24AheadDotCom

April 7th, 2010
2:00 pm

“Fix-it”: your plan will never work since you aren’t taking into account the fact that no one in the establishment – the “everyone” who agrees we need “reform” – are paying any attention to you.

You first need to make it difficult for “everyone” (i.e., the establishment) to be on the wrong side of this issue. That’s what comments like mine are designed to do: discredit hacks like Barr in order to reduce their influence. You need to concentrate on that first, then we can move on to specific plans.

Fix-It

April 7th, 2010
2:09 pm

dbm, immoral? What are you smoking, we need to have quotas otherwise we will be taken over from the south, ooppps already happened… Since Obozo wants us to be just like the rest of the world, we should act like the rest of the world. What happened to the teacher who snuck into North Korea, 8 years hard labor, wouldn’t that stop them. Or better yet on the southern border of Mexico, since dbm likes illegal aliens, they SHOOT THEM. I bet that would stop them…. Wake up we are not the worlds police force or a safe haven for all that want to come here. If all these rich liberals each paid for the healthcare of a needy American family them wouldn’t that solve the issue, oh wait they want YOU to pay for THEIR decisions… losers…..

Ali

April 7th, 2010
2:45 pm

The REAL ID Act already requires that states commit to standardizing their process for licensing drivers by requiring proof of legal residency, among other things. While this may not be a perfect solution to illegal aliens working, it does have the advantage that it doesn’t require the creation of new databases. By using a driver’s license as a second form of ID along with an SS card, and requiring that employers use eVerify (which is based on the SS database we already have) we would greatly diminish the problem of illegal workers. As we have seen already, given the travails of implementing systems such as the Real ID (opposition from the states), eVerify (refusal of Congress to mandate its use by every employer), and U.S. Visit (which cannot yet track the exits of legal visitors after several years and couple of billion dollars in development), we can be assured that the amnesty portion of the bill would be implemented, with disastrous results, long before any biometric system would be. I say “disastrous”, because the only “security checks” on those amnestied would be a criminal background check in the U.S., totally inadequate for people who have been using fraudulent or stolen IDs and whose true identity and background we have no way of knowing. Just last week, a Panamanian illegal alien was extradited to Panama where he had been serving a sentence for murder. Really, really comforting to think he would have gotten amnesty, isn’t it?

StJ

April 7th, 2010
5:25 pm

Schumer is one of the grand-daddies of corruption and underhanded tactics. If he can’t get something done overtly, he’ll do it covertly, and who cares whose rights it infringes (the little people don’t need “rights”, anyway). Not sure what Lindsey Graham is thinking at this juncture, if anything.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 7th, 2010
7:37 pm

Dear No More @ 10:19, I agree that the treason charge is valid, and that treason ought to be punished by death. I still believe there ought to be a trial before the central government kills an American citizen, save the “imminent danger” exigency I note above. I disagree with the Chauncey’s “sentence now, verdict later” approach.

Dear Bookin @ 12:05, I cannot imagine why you think Congress is competent to determine how many immigrants we need. I don’t think Congress is competent to determine the number of laws we need, much less something important like micromanagement of the largest economy in the history of man. A smarter immigration focus would be on “quality,” to ensure that those who come in, whether they number 100 or 100 million, are potential republicans – conservative, religious, patriotic, family oriented – you know, typical Mexicans.

Logical Dude

April 7th, 2010
7:49 pm

I think I’m missing something here.
“National ID” is ALREADY HERE. Yes, you need your Social Security card to do pretty much anything nowadays, from getting a job to healthcare to credit cards.
But wait! You say, What about a program that keeps illegals from working!?
Well, you see, that’s already here too! It’s called eVerify. Yes, a NATIONAL DATABASE that holds the documents for DOCUMENTED WORKERS!
Wow, the magic!
So, Bob, Would you support a program that eliminates Social Security, credit cards (and a national system of tracking debt via the “credit score”), and weaken the rules for obtaining a passport?
Oh, THAT’S RIGHT, a passport! That might also be considered a national ID card!
So yes, on several levels, we have national databases that track us already.

We are already there, so we don’t actually need another national ID card plan pushed by the government.

But then, having only read Bob’s article above, there may be a totally different plan than is indicated, so I guess I’ll need to hear more before giving an opinion on that.

Bobby

April 7th, 2010
8:21 pm

Well, aside from the fact that Charles Schumer is in Wall Streets pockets, and Lindsay, “Americans are bigots” Graham is an American hating wimp, I guess their O.K.

jt

April 8th, 2010
5:36 am

Too bad we didn’t have this bio-metric card when Obozo snuck over the border.

Emma

April 8th, 2010
7:23 am

Those of you who oppose a biometric social security card for privacy reasons should consider this: Your whole existence can be analyzed by looking at your credit card bills. For instance, if you go on vacation, virtually the whole trip can be recreated by looking at your credit card purchases. Every time you use your credit card, Big Brother sees you. Also, every keystroke on your computer, every google search, every click is registered forever. (Many criminals have discovered that belatedly.) A biometric social security card is a necessary, excellent tool to curb illegal immigration. If they cannot work here, they will stay home.

Emma

April 8th, 2010
7:52 am

leeh1 April 7th 11:08am makes some excellent comments. He points to the fact that we already have a drivers license in a database containing our name, picture, address, eye color, height, id number and date of birth. Those of you who have traveled abroad recently have a machine readable biometric passport that you need to re-enter the country. Plus you have a social security card and number in a database that you need to get a job.
An improved, tamper-proof biometric social security card is a win for all of us and will help curb illegal immigration and it will facilitate the fight against terrorism.

David S

April 8th, 2010
9:49 am

1 keystroke away from being a non-person. This is about people control, not anything positive. People like Emma are the reason Nazi Germany came into being, the Soviety Union was so oppressive, East Germany and their Stazi were so controlling and Mao was so effective in oppressing the Chinese. The term is “enabler”. Nothing you mention Emma is good. That we are forced to deal with these things doesn’t mean would should roll over and take another. Why don’t you move to a more repressive country and let the freedom fighters in this country try and take it back. You are part of the problem.

[...] Some have already raised concerns regarding the proposed provisions in the bill, including a national ID plan for all workers, citing that many provisions hurt, not help, [...]

[...] should be the last to criticize Facebook’s privacy practices. That’s because Schumer is leading the push in Congress to establish a biometric national identification regime. If Schumer had his way, all [...]

[...] should be the last to criticize Facebook’s privacy practices. That’s because Schumer is leading the push in Congress to establish a biometric national identification regime. If Schumer had his way, all [...]