This bill brings us closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom. – “President” George W. “I’m a fucking moron” Bush
This bill brings us closer to a surveillance society with serious privacy issues and a loss of administrative accountability. – Max
The bill, S. 1348, the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, is currently being debated in the upper house of Congress. Section 302 of the bill addresses “employment verification”, which will affect not only immigrants, but everyone who works in The New Amerika, whether non-citizen or citizen.
I vaguely remember having to prove that I was eligible to work in The Amerika whenever I went for a new job. I think I had to fill out a federal form (I-9), and show my driving licence as ID and my social security card to show I had the right to work. Fair enough. That process will remain the same, except that “for US citizens, documents that meet both identification and employment authorization will now only include US passports, a new biometric tamper-resistant, machine-readable passport, a REAL ID compliant driver’s license.” And employers will now be required to retain copies of the presented documents.
Then comes the more ominous aspect: the Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS), which is already administered jointly in pilot form by the Department of Fatherland Security and the Social Security Administration. Under EEVS, the personal information handed over to the employer by every single employee, new or current, will be entered into a database for verification. All of that may or may not work. Apparently the pilot program, which is on a relatively small scale, has a lot of bugs. One of the biggest worries is that the system will produce a list similar to the ‘no-fly’ list, and some of us will be mistakenly and unfairly blackballed from working.
Fatherland Security will receive all of the data for verification, including our social security numbers, and will not be required to delete the information from their systems after the verification process has been completed. Fatherland Security, and its contractors, will also have access to confidential taxpayer information from the IRS’ databases. Even if you are not a paranoid person that wants the government to know as little as possible about you, you could still be a victim of identity theft or other fraud. The government’s databases are notoriously insecure.
The bill also prohibits any meaningful judicial review, which means that Fatherland Security, or whatever other authority is involved, will not be held accountable for unlawful acts. The principle of judicial review has existed since Dr. Bonham’s Case of 1610, and has been essential in American constitutional law. The purpose of judicial review is to let the courts intervene if a public body has made an error of law. Without judicial review, we will be powerless to correct wrongful decisions, whether made purposefully or mistakenly, by Fatherland Security.
Both Republicans and Democrats are backing the bill.
Greg Siskind’s summary of the bill