National Worker ID Proposed in Comprehensive Immigration Bill

Thursday, March 11, 2010

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) later this week to discuss a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill. At controversy is a proposed national worker ID which would be at the center of the Senators’ proposed immigration bill currently being worked on in the U.S. Senate.

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To combat critics of CIR, who say that once it is passed more illegal immigrants will flood the United States, Senators Schumer and Graham will introduce a national worker ID. The new ID card would be embedded with information, such as fingerprints or a scan of the veins in the top of the hand, to tie the card to the worker. The ID card would be required for all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants. If implemented all new workers, including teenagers, would be phased in with an initial focus on industries that are known to employ illegal-immigrants.

Critics of the new ID card, like the American Civil Liberties Union, say it would be a massive invasion of privacy. Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union was quoted as saying:

"We're not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We're also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification."

However, Senator Graham disagrees with critics comparing the ID cards to an extension of our current system saying:

"We've all got Social Security cards. They're just easily tampered with. Make them tamper-proof. That's all I'm saying."

According to Senator Schumer, employers would be able to buy a scanner to check the IDs for as much as $800; and small employers could take their applicants to a government office such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and have their hands scanned there.

The White House has yet to comment of the proposed National Worker ID.

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