by Melissa Ngo
hat tip: Privacy Lives
Last year, the Washington Post reported that Senate Democrats were looking to change federal immigration laws (after failing to overhaul them in 2007). Instead of just creating an error-filled national database of Americans’ employment eligibility, legislators were seeking to require “that all U.S. workers verify their identity through fingerprints or an eye scan.”
Now federal legislators are again looking to create a national identification system with biometric data on all U.S. workers, not just immigrants. In a Washington Post editorial, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) announced a framework for immigration reform. (After the jump, I explain the substantial privacy problems inherent in the proposed system.):
Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.
Besides border security, ending illegal immigration will also require an effective employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring illegal workers. A tamper-proof ID system would dramatically decrease illegal immigration, experts have said, and would reduce the government revenue lost when employers and workers here illegally fail to pay taxes.