Sensible immigration reform will strengthen American society and economy. But it must also respect the rights of U.S. citizens and those aspiring to join them.
Buried in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the Senate are obscure provisions that impose on Americans expansive national identification systems, tied to electronic verification schemes. Under the guise of “reform,” these trample fundamental rights and freedoms.
Requirements in Senate Bill 744 for mandatory worker IDs and electronic verification remove the right of citizens to take employment and “give” it back as a privilege only when proper proof is presented and the government agrees. Such systems are inimical to a free society and are costly to the economy and treasury.
Any citizen wanting to take a job would face the regulation that his or her digitized high-resolution passport or driver’s license photo be collected and stored centrally in a Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services database.
The pictures in the national database would then need to be matched against the job applicant’s government-issued “enhanced” ID card, using a Homeland Security-mandated facial-recognition “photo tool.” Only when those systems worked perfectly could the new hire take the job.
Immigrant employees would probably have to get biometric (based on body measurements like fingerprint scans and digital images) worker ID cards. Social Security cards may soon become biometric as well. Any citizen or immigrant whose digital image in the Homeland Security databank did not match the one embedded in their government-issued ID would be without a job and benefits.
Yet, citizens have a constitutional right to take employment. Since the Butchers Union Co. decision in 1884, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that “the right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right …