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Republican David Dreier Introduces National ID Card Legislation

Valley Morning Star | September 27 2004

Comment: This bill is entirely seperate from the raft of legislation introduced on the back of the 9/11 commission.

As Americans continue to debate immigration, they need to make sure that precious rights and freedoms are not abridged by any new public policy that may grow out of the discussion.

That’s why we urge Congress to strongly oppose a proposal by Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., that would require all workers to have what his Web site describes as a Social Security card with their picture on it. It would "contain an electronic signature strip that contains an encrypted electronic identification strip, unique to that individual."

Whenever you applied for a new job, your employer would be required to verify you are a citizen or legal alien "via a phone verification system, to be set up by" the Department of Homeland Security. Employers not following the procedure would face fines up to $50,000 per occurrence.

Dreier’s proposal includes other reforms, such as adding 700 more Border Patrol agents and a guest-worker program. His proposal came in response to an effort by a local radio show to throw him from office for what the hosts say is his support for high illegal immigration.

Dreier says his proposal wouldn’t impose a national identification card. But what else would it be?

"It scares the hell out of me," remarked former Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr.; he represented the San Fernando Valley in Congress in the 1970s and is the son of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater. In the 1970s, Dreier was an intern with the younger Goldwater.

In the late 1970s, Goldwater got Congress to pass a ban on the use of Social Security cards for identification purposes without the approval of Congress. Unfortunately, he said, Congress then immediately reversed itself.

"I’ve always been concerned about a universal ID card or system, somewhat like in Nazi Germany," he added. "That’s scary. We value our privacy and freedom and are very concerned about the power of the U.S. government. A universal ID number is easy to track and record. You would need to tighten up the (Social Security card) system, to make it foolproof. I don’t know who’s that smart."

We don’t, either. Computer hackers always seem a step ahead of government bureaucrats.

Even more than the 1986 immigration law, Dreier’s proposed system makes employers the enforcers, essentially acting on behalf of the federal government on immigration control.

This is a bad idea. Employers are here to create products and services for customers who want them, not to investigate immigration status for the federal government.

Whether one supports open borders or closed borders, amnesty or a guest-worker program, it would be a tragedy if this issue led to a reduction in what attracts immigrants in the first place: our liberties and the prosperity they bring.

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