Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham mislead about their amnesty scheme (3/18/10 edition)

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Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham - the "dastardly duo" - take to the pages of the Washington Post to offer "The right way to mend immigration", outlining a comprehensive immigration reform scheme they're going to try to push through (link). They provide no details on their plan, and most of what they outline has been discussed in the summary or the links on the reform link above. However, this - of course - stands out:

We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card's unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone's information. The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.

I'll leave hyperventilating about that to others, but it's not like such hyperventilating wouldn't be warranted. In order to assure a cheap labor supply for corrupt businesses that can't improve their processes, Schumer and Graham (and their supporters, such as Barack Obama) would greatly decrease privacy in the U.S., more or less converting us from a land of citizens into one of subjects. Further, in order to verify the biometric ID (whatever it is) the data would have to be stored somewhere, otherwise it wouldn't work. If it was stored on the card, how exactly would the care be verified except with a central database? They're misleading about the data part; the only question is exactly how they're trying to fool people.

They also say:

...employers are burdened by a complicated system for verifying workers' immigration status.

The eVerify program just involves inputting information into a webform, and it's accurate for legal workers 93% of the time.

Once it is clear that in 20 years our nation will not again confront the specter of another 11 million people coming here illegally, Americans will embrace more welcoming immigration policies.

Their scheme, like all other amnesty plans, would send a message that prospective illegal aliens just have to lie low for several years until they get their own amnesty. And, it would give even more power to those groups that currently work to undercut whatever little enforcement takes place.

Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers (note: see guest workers); and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.

"We" - that is, the establishment - has almost no interest in border security and interior enforcement; the thought of "fulfilling and strengthening" a "commitment" that doesn't exist is beyond absurd. The "tough but fair" path will be seen by millions around the world as amnesty, causing a rush for the borders.

Prospective employers would be responsible for swiping the [national ID card] through a machine to confirm a person's identity and immigration status. Employers who refused to swipe the card or who otherwise knowingly hired unauthorized workers would face stiff fines and, for repeat offenses, prison sentences.

How exactly is the Department of Homeland Security going to know that someone didn't swipe the card? They conduct very few stings as it is, and once again amnesty would give even more power to those who'd oppose stings and immigration enforcement in general.

We propose a zero-tolerance policy for gang members, smugglers, terrorists and those who commit other felonies after coming here illegally. We would bolster recent efforts to secure our borders by increasing the Border Patrol's staffing and funding for infrastructure and technology. More personnel would be deployed to the border immediately to fill gaps in apprehension capabilities.

It's good to know they're against terrorists, but that's just "boob bait for Bubba". Some groups on the far-left would oppose even enforcement against known criminals, and - once againg - those groups would gain more power from this bill.

Other steps include expanding domestic enforcement to better apprehend and deport those who commit crimes and completing an entry-exit system that tracks people who enter the United States on legal visas and reports those who overstay their visas to law enforcement databases.

The DHS's apprehension capabilities are very small as it is, meaning that the vast majority of those overstays would never be apprehended.

Ensuring economic prosperity requires attracting the world's best and brightest. Our legislation would award green cards to immigrants who receive a PhD or master's degree in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. university. It makes no sense to educate the world's future inventors and entrepreneurs and then force them to leave when they are able to contribute to our economy.

Yes, it does make sense if yours isn't a short-sighted goal of braindraining the world, especially when - in a country of around 300 million people - we have a very large supply of very bright future scientists and the like.

Our blueprint also creates a rational system for admitting lower-skilled workers. Our current system prohibits lower-skilled immigrants from coming here to earn money and then returning home. Our framework would facilitate this desired circular migration by allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can show they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position; allowing more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs and fewer in a recession; and permitting workers who have succeeded in the workplace, and contributed to their communities over many years, the chance to earn a green card.

This is the "screw low-wage Americans" part of the plan. Many or most of those guest workers - as with other similar programs - would not return home but would stay here, with the connivance of politicians who wanted to get their future votes and by the means of, among other things, having U.S. citizen children. Employers - as they do with the H1B program - would make a great show of trying to hire Americans but with the goal of arranging things so that only foreigners need apply. And, of course, the latter is the brass ring that many "guests" would try for, greatly increasing the supply of "guests" who'll never want to leave.

For the 11 million immigrants already in this country illegally, we would provide a tough but fair path forward. They would be required to admit they broke the law and to pay their debt to society by performing community service and paying fines and back taxes. These people would be required to pass background checks and be proficient in English before going to the back of the line of prospective immigrants to earn the opportunity to work toward lawful permanent residence.

They actually think their readers are dumb enough to think that illegal aliens having to admit they broke the law is "tough". Watch out for the comfy chair! One can imagine the National Council of La Raza offering "tough but fair" volunteer work so that their power base can "pay their debt to society". And, performing FBI-quality background checks on 10,000,000 people would take five to ten years, meaning that the background checks that were performed would be extremely slap-dash and might even go as far as being based on the word of the Mexican government and other untrustworthy foreign sources (if they were done at all).

They finish with the deportations false choice:

The American people deserve more than empty rhetoric and impractical calls for mass deportation. We urge the public and our colleagues to join our bipartisan efforts in enacting these reforms.

It's extraordinarily easy to discredit both Graham and Schumer over this issue, and the way to do it is outlined on the question authority page. That's the most important thing in this entire post, so if you want to actually do something about this take out a few moments now and simply help me promote that plan and find people who can implement it.

3/30/10 UPDATE: Per this, the cards would probably contain an electronically-encoded fingerprint which would then be checked using a machine that each employer would have to buy... at the cost of $800 or so. Needless to say, that would be prohibitively expensive for small stores and the like that only employ a few people. And, those who employ day laborers probably aren't going to bring the machines along in their trucks.

Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, believes that keeping biometric information out of a centralized database is "the biggest challenge." Otherwise, she says, the prospect of having millions of fingerprints on hand would be too tempting for the government not to abuse. In their op-ed, the Senators said the information would be stored only on the card.

Although the card is being presented as existing solely for determining employment eligibility, "it will be almost impossible to say that this wealth of information is there, but you can only use it for this purpose," Coney says. "Privacy is pretty much hinged on the notion that if you collect data for one purpose, you can't use it for another." (Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union) expresses worries that this ID will become a "central identity document" that one will need in order to travel, vote or perhaps own a gun, which Melmed calls "mission creep."