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Letter: Reject Worker ID Plan (Watertown Daily Times)

To the Editor:

While Sen. Charles Schumer’s leadership on comprehensive immigration reform is commendable, his misguided proposal to establish a biometric worker ID system will hamstring efforts to pass meaningful, sensible reform.

Sen. Schumer’s plan would require everyone wanting to work in the United States, hundreds of millions of people, to obtain an ID card containing their photographs and biometric data, such as their fingerprints or scans of the veins in their hands. This sets the framework for a national ID system, a concept both Republicans and Democrats have long opposed as a violation of privacy and liberty.

For years, Social Security cards expressly stated that they were not for identity purposes to quell fears that they would become de facto national ID cards. President Reagan likened a 1981 proposal for a national worker ID card to the biblical mark of the beast, and President Clinton dismissed a plan for a national medical ID card as smacking of Big Brotherism.

Americans will surely reject a biometric ID system that forces them to get the government’s permission to take a job. Comprehensive immigration reform should strengthen everyone’s rights and liberties, not expand the government’s authority over our lives.

Ari Rosmarin
Senior Advocacy Coordinator, New York Civil Liberties Union

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