Thursday, May 24, 2007

Keeping track: Identification for U.S. workers

Never-ending attempt to track valid citizens of the United States. Why don't the border security guards who attempt to apprehend illegal aliens simply shoot em with an embedded chip.

Work bill would create new ID database
By Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: May 21, 2007, 1:28 PM PDT

The U.S. Congress is poised to create a set of massive new government databases that all employers must use to investigate the immigration status of current and future employees or face stiff penalties.

The so-called Employment Eligibility Verification System would be established as part of a bill that senators began debating on Monday, a procedure that is likely to continue through June and would represent the most extensive rewrite of immigration and visa laws in a generation. Because anyone who fails a database check would be out of a job, the proposed database already has drawn comparisons with the "no-fly list" and is being criticized by civil libertarians and business groups.

All employers--at least 7 million, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--would be required to verify identity documents provided by both existing employees and potential hires, the legislation says. The data, including Social Security numbers, would be provided to Homeland Security, on penalty of perjury, and the government databases would provide a work authorization confirmation within three business days.

There is no privacy requirement that the federal government delete the information after work authorization is given or denied. Employers would be required to keep all the documentation in paper or electronic form for seven years "and make it available for inspection by officers of the Department of Homeland Security" and the Department of Labor. It would also open up the IRS' databases of confidential taxpayer information to Homeland Security and its contractors.

Even parents who hire nannies might be covered. The language in the bill, called the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act (PDF), defines an employer as "any person or entity hiring, recruiting, or referring an individual for employment in the United States" and does not appear to explicitly exempt individuals or small businesses. (Its Senate sponsors did not immediately respond on Monday to queries on this point.)...

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