real-idIt looks like another hot button issue will be coming to the forefront of American politics this year as the Senate is planning on tackling immigration. You may recall that President George W. Bush tried to tackle this issue with the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), was meet with fierce opposition by conservatives and Republicans and ultimately defeated.

Reform that makes it easier for immigrants to come to seek the American Dream, should be welcome. Unfortunately, much of the opposition (though not all) was rooted in xenophobia, nativism and, in some cases, racism. Because of this there was no opportunity to have a substantive debate on the points of the bill, such as provisions of McCain-Kennedy dealing with REAL ID, which was a defacto national ID card approved by Congress in 2005.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Chuck Schumer may be incorporating a biometric national ID card in his proposal:

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

The uphill effort to pass a bill is being led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who plan to meet with President Barack Obama as soon as this week to update him on their work. An administration official said the White House had no position on the biometric card.

No doubt many conservatives and Republican support a national ID. In fact, the Heritage Foundation promoted REAL ID. The fact that there is no constitutional basis for a national ID or the obvious concerns for privacy don’t seem to stop the conservatives for clamoring for it.

Separately, you have to wonder why Democrats are trying to touch on so many controversial issues in an election year. You may say that this is bipartisan, and I would agree, but Democrats are basically handing another issue for the Republican base to unite in opposition to. We’ll be seeing anti-immigration tea parties before the summer break.

cross-posted from

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