Among the concerns being expressed about the Senate’s immigration bill is a provision that turns E-Verify into a de facto national ID system. Regardless of the merits of the policy itself, and there are reasonable points made by both sides of the debate, this provision has caused concern among privacy advocates.
Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, recently explained some of the problems with a national ID. “There are many reasons to avoid a national ID, including their propensity to increase surveillance, the transfer of power they produce by giving governments and corporations a tool for tracking and control, and the experience of history,” he wrote. “National ID systems’ administrative efficiencies have been applied to the awful things governments can do right along with the good things.”
In a recorded message released last month through his grassroots organization, Campaign for Liberty, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) blasted the immigration bill over the provision. He called it the “worst national ID scheme the statists have come up with yet” and warned that it could be used for all manner of government overreach: