The National ID Trojan Horse
February 14, 2005
The U.S. House of Representatives
passed a national ID bill last week that masqueraded as “immigration
reform.” The bill does nothing to
address immigration policy, however, nor does it propose deporting a single
illegal alien already in our country. It
does nothing to address the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico, which is
the fundamental problem. In
reality, the bill is a Trojan horse. It pretends to offer desperately needed
border control in order to con a credulous Congress into sacrificing more of our
constitutionally protected liberty.
Supporters claim the national ID scheme
is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make
non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to
have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be
accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the
eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call
this voluntary, and the proponents of the national ID know that every state will
have no choice but to comply. Federal
legislation that nationalizes standards for drivers’ licenses and birth
certificates creates a national ID system pure and simple.
It is just a matter of time until those
who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or
board an airplane. Such domestic
travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free
This bill establishes a huge,
centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American
citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social
Security number, and physical and possibly other characteristics.
The bill even provides for this sensitive information of American
citizens to be shared with Canada and Mexico!
Imagine a corrupt Mexican official selling thousands of identity files,
including Social Security numbers, to criminals!
This legislation gives authority to the
Secretary of Homeland Security to expand required information on drivers’
licenses, potentially including such biometric information as retina scans,
finger prints, DNA information, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
radio tracking technology. Including such technology as RFID means the federal
government, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, could know where
American citizens are at all times.
What will this mean for us? When this
new program is implemented, every time we are required to show our drivers’
license we will, in fact, be showing a national identification card. We will be
handing over a card that includes our personal and likely biometric information,
information which is connected to a national and international database.
This will further degrade our precious privacy, which is the hallmark of
a civilized society. As Ayn Rand
said, the “Savage’s whole existence is public.”
A national ID card will have the same
effect as gun control laws: criminals will ignore it, while law abiding people
lose freedom. A national ID card
offers us nothing more than a false sense of security, while moving us ever
closer to a police state. The
national ID proposal should die a well-deserved death in the Senate, and it
should be denounced as authoritarian and anti-American.