As the conversation about immigration reform continues, senators have vaguely alluded to requiring every U.S. worker – regardless of citizenship – to carry a high-tech “biometric” identification card. The senators included this language due to the ease of working around the current e-Verify system, which can easily be skirted by illegal workers. The senators have called for “non-forgeable electronic means” as a means to ease employers’ verification of employees and ensure that such employers are only hiring legal workers. Aides to the senators working on this bill say that the language was purposefully kept vague to allow negotiations among politicians. They likely also kept it vague as to see try and implement changes in the E-Verify system as such changes would be more cost-effective than creating a new biometric identification card.
Changes to the E-Verify system would make it more difficult for illegal workers to pass employers’ notice undetected but may also raise privacy concerns. Are these senators proposing a national identification card by which the federal government could track people at hospitals, airports, toll roads, and throughout other parts of their lives? It remains unclear exactly what the group of Senators will propose while millions of undocumented aliens remain in the United States with little means for employers to verify their identities.