Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tamper-proof ID and Forgiveness Program

Jay Tea at Wizbang blogged about the President's proposal. Two items I want to comment on are Tamper-proof IDs and the Forgiveness Program

Tamper-proof IDs for legal aliens in the United States. Again, sounds great, but how it will be implemented will reveal just how well it will work. Market forces will almost inevitably trump a government plan, and there will be a huge incentive to find ways to fake the unfakeable IDs. There are a lot of very intelligent people who would very much like to find a way to make big money, and finding ways around the ID system offers access to a lot of money -- all under the table. What one technology can create, another can undo.

A way to forge the unforgable cards might be found if it is difficult to get one of the ID cards. But in the plan that I propose it will be easy for a worked without a criminal record to get one, and if we build some secret check data in the magnetic card stripe we can probably detect most of the forged ones.
A graduated forgiveness program, based on how long someone has been in the United States. I predicted it before, and I'll repeat it again: the primary consequences of this will be twofold: a huge surge in illegal aliens looking to cross the border before it takes effect, and an explosion in forged documents that "prove" how long someone has been in the country. People will start finding ways to fake utility bills, rent receipts, and the like to show that Skippy who just hopped the border last week has been in the United States since the Clinton Administration, just quietly doing those jobs Americans don't want to do.
That is true, but in the plan that I propose all we would do is give guest worker cards to the people that were here illegally (after making them pay a penalty for coming in). This would let them stay here (which they will do anyway, because as many have said, it would be impossible to round them up and send them back), but it would not put them on a path to citizenship. If they want that, they would have to put their names at the end of a list and wait their turn. They might do that waiting here in the US, but they would wait their turn


Anonymous said...

Tamper-proof IDs for legal aliens in the United States. Again, sounds great, but how it will be implemented will reveal just how well it will work.

Uh, if you have a green card, then you get digitally fingerprinted and photographed at a USCIS office, and that photograph and fingerprint appears on your card, along with a load of other stuff: a barcode, a magnetic strip, the kind of scrambled data that you see on a driver's license.

If you're on a non-immigrant visa, your EAD (work permit) has the same identification features.

The details are all in some big USCIS computer somewhere.

And if you're going to add more biometric features to immigrant ID, the obvious consequence is that you'll have to add more still to citizen ID (and to the precursor documentation such as birth certificates) to stop it becoming the patch of least resistance.

Don Singleton said...

I believe they can be made more secure if we want to, but it probably means contracting the job out to a credit card company that has a greater incentive to really remain secure than some government bureaucrat.

However as I indicated the real answer is to make it easier to get a card, but that once you have someone in your hands, picking up their card, if they have committed a crime or for some other reason no longer qualify, then deport them immediately