Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ID Card for Workers is at Center of Immigration Plan

From the Wall Street Journal -Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have introduced an immigration reform bill that creates a system that aims to preventing U.S. companies from hiring illegal immigrants. Under the system, all legal U.S. workers would be issued an ID card embedded with biometric information like fingerprints or scans of the veins in the tops of their hands. When workers go to apply for a job, the cards would be scanned by the employer using a $700-$800 machine. Small employers unable to afford the cost of the scanners could instead choose to take applicants to a government office to have their hands scanned, Schumer said. Schumer and Graham's plan calls for the cards to be phased in. Workers who have jobs now would not be required to obtain the card until they leave their current position. In addition, industries that typically rely on illegal workers would be required to check the cards first, with other industries to follow later. The system is being criticized by privacy advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union, which says that the cards could become national ID cards that the government could use to track citizens. However, Graham says that the system would simply make current forms of identification, such as Social Security cards, tamper-proof.

We say: A few years ago some people thought biometric technology would replace ID cards. At that time we thought physical verification would not go away. This has become evident with the increased use of multi-technology cards.

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