Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer Propose National ID Cards

As part of their immigration reform legislation, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer are proposing all Americans get national ID cards. The cards would be high-tech social security cards and required to obtain employment in the U.S.

“We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card’s unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone’s information,” they said. “The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.”

The problem: It will be expanded far beyond that purpose: [More...]

As EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation] aptly points out:

“Because of the ID card’s proposed universality, it will likely be requested and required by airlines, insurance agencies, health care providers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and so forth...”

....This proposal should grit the teeth and narrow the eyes of anyone who has carefully considered the dangers of a national, biometric-carrying identification card scheme. Like other national ID proposals, this one seems to naively assume that technology and federalization can provide an across-the-board "upgrade" to existing identification schemes, when in reality it spawns a beastly tangle of complex issues.

Cato has more on how this will turn into a giant national identity database.

The biometric national identification scheme Senators Schumer and Graham propose is much, much more than a “high-tech” Social Security card. It’s the biggest, most difficult identity system ever proposed. It will take decades and tens or hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to build.

About the only similarity between today’s Social Security card and the biometric national ID card these senators propose is that they’re both rectangular.

Just say no to Graham and Shumer and national ID cards. As Cato pointed out here:

It would also subject every employment decision to the federal government’s approval. It would make surveillance of law-abiding citizens easier. It would allow the government to control access to health care. It would facilitate gun control. It would cost $100 billion dollars or more. It would draw bribery and corruption into the Social Security Administration. It would promote the development of sophisticated biometric identity fraud. How long should I go on?

This is not about immigration, it's about tracking U.S. citizens:

A biometric ID system is not about securing the border or preventing terrorism. It is about tracking citizens.

“By far the most significant negative aspect of biometric ID systems is their potential to locate and track people physically. While many surveillance systems seek to locate and track, biometric systems present the greatest danger precisely because they promise extremely high accuracy. Whether a specific biometric system actually poses a risk of such tracking depends on how it is designed,” explains the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Lindsey Graham has become the biggest threat to freedom since Rudy Giuliani. That Democrats and the Obama Administration are providing him a platform is inexcusable.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 07:49:57 PM EST
    maybe.  But, why in the world would Senator Schumer suit up with Graham on something like this?  Schumer is a pretty smart guy so it seems he knows that this will not get the Democrats any Republican votes, and the courtship is not even going to defang the wingers so they might stay home and not vote.  On its value?  The old social security cards work just fine, lamination keeps them from becoming dog-eared if that is the issue. Unless, just unless there is something else underlying this good republidem idea.

    I lost my SS card (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 09:07:13 PM EST
    in high school - have never needed to show it to anyone as long as I know the number!

    I'm sure at some point I will have to get a duplicate - but I've been saying that for 35 years and it ha not happened yet.


    high-tech, fraud-proof (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by dead dancer on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:59:17 PM EST
    bra ha ha ha ha

    high-tech, fraud-proof

    bra ha ha ha ha

    more like high-fraud, tech-poop

    Tell me again (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 07:55:48 AM EST
    ...how the Republicans winning would have been soooooooo much worse.

    Seems like (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 07:38:58 PM EST
    It's just not Lindsey Graham who's a threat.

    How is privacy protection doing in (none / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 07:43:57 PM EST
    Europe? Isn't Britain full of cams watching people in public places now?
    Are there any national ID cards or proposals for ones?

    Wouldn't it be a hoot...? (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:00:35 PM EST
    If clowns like this are going to have to start carrying national id cards, and someone hacks their account somehow and gets access to all their information:  social security (which will give them access to credit history), medical, insurance, whatever.  Can you imagine the nightmare that would ensue from anyone getting this information stolen?  But wouldn't it be sweet if it came back to bite Lindsey - years of paperwork to get things straightened out, the results of his prostate exams on the internet, etc.?

    "straightened out" (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:12:05 PM EST
    was that intentional?

    What would be a real hoot would be (none / 0) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:52:31 AM EST
    if these Democrats would start acting like Democrats, and stop buying into Republican xenophobia and their panty-sniffing obsession with being in every aspect of our lives.

    "High tech" is SO 2000 (none / 0) (#6)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:12:42 PM EST
    Didn't these guys notice the last bubble that burst?

    Dems just love them great (none / 0) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:57:10 PM EST
    Republican ideas.

    Immigration Reform Legislation? (none / 0) (#9)
    by desertswine on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 09:02:18 PM EST
    This doesn't have anything to do with immigration. This is just concerned with controlling the citizenry.

    Why would you have to carry it all the time? (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 09:04:49 PM EST
    It does not have a GPS sensor anyway, so how are they going to follow me?

    That eyeball is just plain creepy.

    I am undecided on this one. I will read the links J posted. But this

    "Because of the ID card's proposed universality, it will likely be requested and required by airlines, insurance agencies, health care providers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and so forth..."

    Sounds exactly like who asks for my Driver's License right now. Which I can't get in FL without a birth certificate. I'm not sure why it hurts me for them to have my biometric data too.

    But I am sure I am about to be informed!

    How would we know there's no GPS chip? (none / 0) (#19)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 01:37:56 PM EST
    Readable only by secure government sites?

    It would, of necessity, require that people carry their papers -er, card -- on their persons at all times.

    Actually, a subcutaneous chip would work better....


    Subcutaneous chip w/ little microphone.... (none / 0) (#20)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    How could a secret camera be worked into this security/tracking device?

    Dems were against things like this when BushCo (none / 0) (#21)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    floated trial balloons.

    Seems principles are losing out to cult of personality for some ostensible progressives, even libs. Giving lefties a bad name....


    No Surprise (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 09:14:36 PM EST
    May 27, 2005
    After Bitter Fight, REAL ID Act Becomes Law
    On May 11th, President Bush signed into law a military spending bill that included the REAL ID Act - the most egregious legislative assault on immigrants' rights in almost a decade. Unfortunately, REAL ID's punitive driver's license and immigration provisions are "junk" security measures that only scapegoat immigrants and drive them further underground.....

    .....Unfortunately, New York's Senators Clinton and Schumer were both missing in action - neither spoke out against REAL ID when it was debated on the Senate floor and in conference committee. Only after it was included in the final appropriations bill - and awaiting President Bush's inevitable signature - did Senator Clinton make a statement expressing limited criticism of some of the provisions.

    NY Immigration News, Volume VIII, Issue #6, May 27, 2005 (PDF)

    Sptizer's Plan (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 09:29:03 PM EST
    Which was opposed by Real ID advocates,
    Applicants for driver's licenses would not be required to prove legal immigration status and would be allowed to present a foreign passport as identification.[2] At that point, eight other states did not require individuals to prove their legal immigration status when applying for a driver's licenses.[3] Spitzer said that the new policy would help all New Yorkers by improving traffic safety, because unlicensed drivers are nearly five times as likely to be in fatal car crashes compared to licensed drivers.[2] Spitzer also claimed that the policy would effectively allow illegal immigrants to buy auto insurance, which would reduce the number of uninsured drivers in the state and therefore decrease insurance premiums for all New Yorkers by an estimated $120 million.[2]



    Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer have sought to stay out of the issue, repeatedly refusing to say whether they support or oppose the governor's plan.



    Seems like a platform is not (none / 0) (#14)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 06:48:39 AM EST
    the only thing the Dems and the WH are providing Lindsey Graham; I think that's one of their own - Chuck Schumer - standing right next to him.  Imagine that. [Hi, Chuck!  Are you the designated legitimizer-of-Republican-ideas today?]

    I used to think Democrats were a bulwark against this kind of Big Brother-ism, but not any more.

    Authoritarianism lives, and it turns out more than a few Dems - including Obama - are big fans; golly, I feel so much better now that the Dems are in charge, don't you?

    Representing Their Constituents (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 02:56:19 PM EST
    Both NY Senators Clinton (out of office) and Schumer supported real ID years ago. Why? Because the voters wanted it; 70% of the voters that is.

    Spitzer tried to offer up a much better alternative which was hated by the voters because it  was pro immigrant rights. It gave undocumented workers a way to get a legal driver's license.  

    Bedwetting is a habit hard to break. Between all the terrorists and immigrants impending takeover of the US many want to be able to distinguish themselves as real red blooded americans. It is a brand, and those who want it are like cattle.


    Pols assuring us that... (none / 0) (#17)
    by szielinski on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 08:27:04 AM EST
    ...they will not abuse the power they want!


    Show me your papers! Schnell! (none / 0) (#18)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 11:36:56 AM EST
    I don't know how much chance this has of becoming a reality, but if it happens in my lifetime, my guess is that the federal government will create a complete new outlaw class in this country. I'm a rather law-abiding computer guy that works in the defense industry, pays my taxes with little complaint and does a good job of contributing to the economy. This, I will resist. I will refuse to participate. Period. If that means I can no longer earn a living in this country, fine, I'll steal a living. Rob liquor stores, banks, whatever, But I won't get a biometric national ID. Not today, not ever.

    Uncle Big Brother (none / 0) (#25)
    by fry1laurie on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 04:41:58 PM EST
    "Small government" conservatives don't mind spending billions of dollars to get this system implemented, and certainly don't mind the privacy implications.