A national identity card for employers to check is at the heart of the new immigration reform legislation being proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.
All legal U.S. workers would be issued with the ID card which would have a biometric identification impossible to duplicate.
Schumer and Graham were due to meet President Obama this week to discuss their immigration reform plan which would also allow those here illegally to stay and gain a path to citizenship. However, Graham's plane flight from South Carolina was canceled and the meeting was postponed.
Schumer says the national identity card is the key to getting a bill passed "It's the nub of solving the immigration dilemma politically speaking," Schumer said in an interview in the Wall Street Journal . The card, he said, would make it impossible for any new illegals to find work. "If you say they can't get a job when they come here, you'll stop it." he stated.would become de facto national ID cards that enable the government to track citizens.
However some civil liberty groups object to the card idea. "It is fundamentally a massive invasion of people's privacy," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We're not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We're also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification."
Senator Graham disagrees. "We've all got Social Security cards," he said. "They're just easily tampered with. Make them tamper-proof. That's all I'm saying."
President Obama says he wants to see a bipartisan effort before he will tackle the issue.However, Graham to date is the only Republican signing up for the new bill and it faces an uphill struggle.