|Biometric ID cards create concerns
Since President Barack Obama took over as Commander In Chief, he has grappled with many controversial topics, including the new Health Care bill that recently passed, albeit in a severely altered state, and the flailing economy.
Obama has campaigned on the concepts of “Hope” and “Change,” and with his newly proposed biometric ID card, at least one of them seems possible.
A biometric ID card is just like any other identification card in many ways; it includes the height, weight, color of one’s eyes and a picture. But the main difference between a biometric ID card and a typical government or state issued ID is significant.
The proposed new biometric ID card would contain all of the same information, but also a fingerprint that is scannable. No two people have the same patterns on their fingers.
The government has not decided how it would store this on a card yet, but may use a strip somewhere on the back so the card can be swiped easily.
The main purpose of the card is to help immigrants get work quicker and help them become a citizens. However, it could eventually be required for everything from voting to travel. Many countries in Europe currently employ similar methods.
US Customs agent Sergio Guzman believes the process is a great solution and an upgrade to the E-verify system currently in effect.
“It will be much quicker and easier to ID people orally then have to input all sorts of data,” he said. “We can swipe their card and be done with it.”
Guzman also believes this will allow citizenship checks at the border to run much smoother.
“The border will have less problems,” Guzman said. “The computer can tell us who is an actual citizen and who isn’t.”
Although the ID card efforts will attempt to crack down on illegal immigrants being able to get work, there are concerns among US citizens that the system will lead to possible infringements upon privacy and civil liberties.
Kris Fierro is outraged about the new ID card. Fierro, who is a double major in criminal justice and political science, believes the ID is flat out illegal.
“The ID has a good purpose in theory, but what are they doing when scanning it every time? The government will be able to track our every move which is not freedom, and of course is against the law.”
Fierro would like to see Obama come up with a better idea to check to see who is and is not eligible for jobs in the United States.
“This ID card is just another way of Big Brother watching us,” Fierro said. “Why does every single citizen need it when they only need it for a certain few?”
Obama has been very clear on his immigration plans as of late. Although health care has been his most important topic, immigration is not far behind.
Obama would like to implement a “fair system” for those trying to become legal American citizens. One of the steps would be having them attain the new ID card, but bills must be passed first.
The ID card will be phased in, and current workers will only need to acquire one if and when they switch jobs.
The illegal immigrants who are already here will be able to become citizens, but this too will take time. Every current citizen would be forced to acquire the biometric national ID card immediately, and it is estimated to cost close to $800 for businesses to obtain the necessary scanner. The price for citizens is undetermined as of yet.
Some owners seem to be hesitant, unsure of whether this will help or hurt their business. Sonia Dickinson of San Diego owns a daycare center, and many of the parents of the children at her center are illegal workers.
“I just wonder if this will put a damper on my business. If the parents have to go through all these steps like paying taxes, they might just go back to Mexico. There has to be an easier way to do this,” Dickinson said.
Although Dickinson is correct in that they would need to pay taxes, the ID card could benefit immigrant workers as well. The proposed bill would also make it less likely for workers to be deported.
The bill has already garnered significant support among the democrats in Washington. Obama is seeking bipartisan support, but only Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has stepped up so far for the GOP.
The Biometric National ID card and other immigration issues should come before congress close to the end of the year.
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