The U.S. Congress is renewing efforts to force the privacy-invasive and unfunded REAL ID mandate, even though 16 states and thousands of individuals have asked the government to abolish the act. A provision smuggled into the immigration reform bill would effectively force every American to present a standardized national ID in order to get a job. Further, the provision would establish a huge "employment verification" system filled with personal information.
The proposal is set for a floor vote next week. Please telephone your senator now to stop the national ID expansion.
This bill highlights a main concern about REAL ID: that once in place, uses of the IDs and database will expand to facilitate a wide range of tracking and surveillance activities. While the Social Security number started innocuously enough, it has become a prerequisite for a host of government services. Further, it has been co-opted by private companies to create massive databases of personal information.
The proposed employment verification system is bound to contain errors impacting millions of Americans. Along with inevitable delays implementing REAL ID, that could present unnecessary hurdles when applying for jobs. The verification system would also make private information more vulnerable to government misuse, security breaches and identity theft.
The more uses created for REAL ID, the harder it becomes to get the Act off the books entirely. Tell your senators to fix this part of the immigration bill by supporting Senate Amendments 1236 and 1441. To learn more about REAL ID, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation's issue page and the American Civil Liberties' Union REAL ID webpage.