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Friday, May 13, 2005
Immigration, the War on Terror, and a National ID

There is legislation before Congress to institute a national ID card. The White House insists that it is not a national ID card, which is baloney. I suspect the White House feels compelled to deny this because there is a fairly scary number of kooks around who are persuaded that the day a national ID card is instituted, there will be no turning back from the most oppressive tyranny the world has ever known, or something like that.

For me, the logic here is simple. Here's how I see it. For immigration reform and our efforts to keep terrorists out of the United States to make any sense at all, law enforcement officers and other government employees have to be able to identify easily whether a given individual is, in fact, in the United States legally. This requires an ID card of some sort. It has to be a national ID, not a state driver's license, for two reasons: some states give out drivers licenses more freely than fishing licenses, and the identification has to be easily and quickly verifiable against a database - one database for the whole nation, a national database.

It will be possible to beat or even abuse the system, and the system will occasionally break down - but these are reasons for vigilance, not reasons not to try. We really don't have an acceptable alternative. We cannot keep pumping billions of dollars into benefits for people who are here illegally, entirely at the expense of people who are here legally; and time and technological advance will only make us more vulnerable to enemies who slip through our borders, not less.

We ought to figure out how to do what we need to do in a way that best secures our freedoms and security, not recoil from what we need to do because something could go wrong.

Here's one article on the subject; there are others around.

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