national ID card, UC Berkeley perspective

We wrote recently about a biometric national id card idea and its support from Mitt Romney. Our thought was that it’s a bad idea. University of California in Berkeley Law School Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy also thinks it’s a bad idea. Their study shows why. First the cost, researches conservative estimate says $45 billion. Why so much? well there is a lot of ground to cover; all biometric data has to be collected, the system to collect, maintain and make the data available to employers needs to be built from scratch, over 200 milion photo id cards have to be printed. Second, civil liberties concerns, while people got used to the fact that in post September 11 attacks era security has to be tighten up mandatory biometric data collection might meet resistance from civil freedom activists. Third and perhaps foremost the national biometric worker id card will not solve the problem of illegal immigration and unauthorized employment. Most of illegal employment is casual daily work paid with cash. Do legislators expect contractors to pick up per day workers on the street go back to the company office or 3rd party vendor and verify employment eligibilty? These people have work to do.
As a reminder the report brings up I-9 form, the current way of employment eligibility verification which is filed by every employee by the start date. Obama administration has significantly icreased effort to verify I-9 files by running silent raids.
We’re likely to hear about the idea again during the presidential campaign, especially after it has picked up some bipartisan support

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