The following is a contribution by an outside blogger. Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
For years the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed any single government-issued document proving U.S. citizenship since such a document would infringe on privacy. Now, they oppose immigration enforcement because a handful of detainees have been unable to prove U.S. citizenship. A national ID card would certainly make it easier to prove one’s citizenship, now wouldn’t it?
As for fears of privacy violation, the amount of personal information not only available to the government, but to anyone with an internet connection, is staggering. What little privacy Americans had has gone the way of dial-up. Websites like pipl.com—for a small fee—can compile personal information including age, past and present addresses, relatives, email, phone number, credit history, past bankruptcies, criminal record, marriage/divorce, and property. This is available to anyone.
The government already has access to citizen information in the form of birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, and tax documents, to name a few. The problem is there is no central database containing all of this information in one place. In cases where officials have mistakenly detained U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, the error has occurred because Homeland Security records all immigration transactions, not just violations. Therefore, a legal immigrant may be “flagged” in the system because s/he previously entered the U.S. on a foreign passport. Homeland Security often doesn’t have records of foreign-born people who become citizens automatically through adoption or American parents, creating further confusion. A central database linked to a national ID card would make it clear immediately who should and shouldn’t be in this country. We carry driver’s licenses to prove we can legally operate a car. Why can’t we have an ID card to prove we are legally in this country?
As for those ACLU scare-mongers who whisper of a 1984-esque police state where we carry biometric ID cards and have finger scans, I suggest they take a trip to Disney World. That’s right, to enter the Happiest Place on Earth, visitors must scan their finger before passing through the turnstile. Disney is collecting biometric information, and frankly, Disney World is far more secure than our border. Disney would do a better job on border controls and, frankly—judging by how the “mainstream media” covers this issue—with the immigration debate.