In April, I inquired aloud whether Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) supported a national ID. It's clear now that he does---and he's told us how he wants to use it.
On "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, he said:
I've got a driver's license. It has my photo on it. I have a passport. When I go in and out of the country, the government swipes that passport, and it says, "OK, Luis, you're ready to come in. You're authorized." Why can't we have a Social Security card with a picture on it, so when you go get a job you swipe it? And if employers don't use that card, issued by the government to authorize you before you go to work, we send those employers to jail.
Create an internal passport. Send employers to jail. Stop willing Americans from working. Get a handle on all this unfettered freedom.
I discussed why we shouldn't have a national ID card and federal worker background check system in my Cato Policy Analysis, “Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration.” Congressman Gutierrez' desire for overall reform is welcome. Some reasons why not to adopt the current national ID card proposal are here, here, here, and here.
There are many interesting facets to this story in the Chicago Tribune---among them Rep. Luis Gutierrez' signal that he might support having a U.S. national ID.
"We need to know who's working in the United States, and we need to make it easy," Gutierrez told the paper, referring to the push to create a national ID in immigration reform legislation Congress may consider this year.
The story also describes how a UPS worker nearly lost her job because the name she was using---her married name---doesn't match up with Social Security Administration records. I discussed how electronic employment eligibility verification would plunge Americans into an identity-bureaucracy morass in my paper, "Franz Kafka's Solution to Illegal Immigration."
Expect much more Kafkaesque identity bureaucracy---and greater government control of your life---if a national ID is part of immigration reform. When you find out that your papers aren't in order and that you've been denied access to work, housing, financial services, and health care, one of the Washington deal-makers you have to thank may be Luis Gutierrez.