A broad coalition of groups today sent a letter to the White House, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to oppose a proposal by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that would include a biometric national ID card in comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Signatories are from across the political spectrum and include advocates for privacy, consumer rights, gun owners, limited government and religious liberty.
A biometric ID card, like the kind under consideration is a national system for identifying individuals that is used to determine if they are eligible for rights and benefits a classic national ID. In order to create a biometric ID, every worker in America would have to present a birth certificate and other identification documents, then have his or her biometric, like a fingerprint, captured.
In its letter, the coalition stated, "A National ID would not only violate privacy by helping to consolidate data and facilitate tracking of individuals, it would bring government into the very center of our lives by serving as a government permission slip needed by everyone in order to work."
The group said that "a National ID would not only violate privacy by helping to consolidate data and facilitate tracking of individuals, it would bring government into the very center of our lives by serving as a government permission slip needed by everyone in order to work. As happened with Social Security cards decades ago, use of such ID cards would quickly spread and be used for other purposes from travel to voting to gun ownership."
They noted that it would be impossible to create such a system without establishing a national database a central electronic repository of Americans personal information. "Every government identification system currently in existence requires a database. Databases are necessary in order to reissue lost or stolen cards and as a check on fraud and abuse. Without record keeping, the same Social Security number and birth certificate could be used again and again to issue new cards to different people defeating the entire purpose of the system. Such a central repository will be irresistible to identity thieves, hackers and those who want to misuse personal information for crimes like stalking," they said.
The cost of such a system will be extraordinary, they added, running to hundreds of billions of dollars and dwarfing the expense associated with other parts of immigration reform.