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TIME pushes biometric ID card in the name of immigration reform
Are You Ready for a Biometric Social Security Card?
March 29, 2010
Could a national identity card help resolve the heated immigration reform divide?
A bipartisan pair of Senators, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, certainly seem to think so. They recently presented an immigration-bill blueprint to President Barack Obama that includes a proposal to issue a biometric ID card — one that contains physical data such as fingerprints or retinal scans — to all working Americans. The “enhanced Social Security card” is being touted as a way to curb illegal immigration by giving employers the power to quickly, accurately determine who is eligible to work. “If you say they can’t get a job when they come here, you’ll stop it,” Schumer told the Wall Street Journal. Proponents also hope legal hiring will be easier for employers if there’s a single go-to document instead of the 26 that new employees can currently use to show they’re authorized to work.
But with a Congressional skirmish over comprehensive immigration reform on the horizon, skeptics from the left and the right have raised numerous concerns about the biometric ID — some of which pop up every time a form of national identification is proposed and some that hinge on the shape this plan ultimately takes.
The sheer scale of the project is a potential problem, in terms of time, money and technology. The premise of using a biometric employment card (which would most likely contain fingerprint data) to stop illegal working requires that all 150-million-plus American workers, not just immigrants, would need to have one.
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