Biometric ID back in the News

Yet Again with the National ID

By Becky Akers

Fresh from their defeat in forcing national identity papers on us with REAL ID, the Feds are trying once more. Their plea this time isn’t terrorism but immigration — though they’re pretty much the same, or so the State has convinced some Americans.

Introduced in 2005 to combat the waves of terrorists thronging our shores, REAL ID was supposed to thwart the bad guys by transforming our driver’s licenses into a national ID card. We’d have submitted this card on demand to government’s agents — as do the victims in totalitarian regimes. Never mind that “almost no empirical research has been undertaken to clearly establish how identity tokens can be used as a means of preventing terrorism,” according to Privacy International (pdf), or that “terrorists have traditionally moved across borders using tourist visas (such as those who were involved in the US terrorist attacks)” — unless they “are equipped with legitimate identification cards (such as those who carried out the Madrid bombings).”

Governments itch to tag their subjects like so many cattle, on any pretext whatsoever. Ours thought it had a dandy excuse in the attacks of 9/11, and who can blame it? Many Americans would eagerly sell their few remaining liberties so long as a politician assured them that said sale secured the homeland. Ergo, the Feds invented a bogus link between terrorism and America’s freedom from a national ID. They swore they’d prevent another 9/11 so long as we followed orders to carry “enhanced” driver’s licenses.

Surprisingly, rebellion bloomed — and this among states that have supinely obeyed any number of anti-constitutional decrees since 1865. Fifteen passed legislation prohibiting their DMVs from turning licenses into a de facto national ID; another ten officially denounced REAL ID.

No matter: the Feds slapped an alias on their failed legislation — “PASS ID” — and reintroduced it. But in case such cosmetics can’t con us, a couple of senators are aiming at the same goal via another American bugaboo: immigration.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) propose to “reform” yet again the Feds’ cruel and unconstitutional policies on immigration. Their charade prominently features a national ID card — though this time it piggybacks on Social Security cards rather than driver’s licenses.

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