It’s called the “Believe System,” and it’s the Democratic Party’s latest proposal regarding immigration reform. The program, if enacted into law, would require all workers in the United States to carry an ID card complete with identifying biometric information, such as their fingerprints.
National ID Card: a “Biometric Social Security Card”
It’s being called a “biometric Social Security card,” and it would enable law enforcement officials to match up each worker’s name to a national work authorization database.
The “BELIEVE” part of the system’s name stands for “Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.” The proposal states that “each card holder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the card holder.”
National ID Cards: How They Would Be Used
Prospective employers would use a scanner to read the encrypted information and verify that the individual is listed in the database of authorized workers. The ID card could only legally be used to verify employment eligibility, or to establish a person’s identity for Social Security purposes.
If all goes according to plan, the Believe System would be fully operational in six years’ time.
National ID Cards a Critical Element of Immigration Reform, Say Democrats
“The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” says Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification.”
Democrats feel that public resistance to such an idea has lessened in recent times. According to Sen. Durbin, “People understand that in this vulnerable world we have to be able to present identification.”
National ID Cards Criticized by the ACLU
Although often in agreement with the Democrats on other issues, the ACLU has come out four-square against the National ID Card. Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel, feels that not only would such a plan be “astronomically expensive” to implement, it would also “usher government into the very center of our lives.”
National ID Card Proposal Called a “Ploy” By Republicans
Republicans blasted the new proposal. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) call it “nothing more than an attempt to score political points. It poisons the well for those of us who are working toward a more secure border and responsible, bipartisan reform of our immigration laws.”
And House Minority Leader John Boehner called the proposal a “cynical ploy,” adding, “there is not a chance that immigration is going to move through the Congress.”
“Reform Immigration for America” Calls for Negotiations
The pro-immigrant group “Reform Immigration for America” sees the National ID Card proposal as a “possible path forward.” In their April 29, 2010 statement, the group called on Republican Senators to “review this framework and sit down at the negotiating table in good faith.” The group went on to declare, “This is a national problem that requires a federal solution and the input of leaders in both parties.”
Democrats Request Republican Support for National ID Card
According to Sen. Durbin, the biometric identification card is “a critical element” of immigration reform. “We’re making a commitment to establishing a framework to work toward comprehensive immigration reform,” he said, “and I think it’s a good framework, and now we’re engaging our friends on the other side of the aisle to join us in this conversation.”
Huffington Post: National ID Card Included in Democratic Immigration Bill
Politico.com: GOP Holds Ground as Dems Offer Immigration Plan
UPI.com: ACLU Blasts National ID Card Proposal
My Fox Orlando: Is a National ID Card a Good Idea?
Common Dreams.org: Dems Spark Alarm with Call for National ID Card