HispanicVista Columnists

Clinton suckers Republicans not again?

By Patrick Osio, Jr./HispanicVista.com
May 23, 2005
Bill Clinton outsmarted and outmaneuvered the radical right wing of the Republican Party for so long and so often giving Republicans hope that once out of office he would stop been such a bully. But it is not to be. He has done it again. In 1995 Clinton laid the foundation for a National ID card. Well, he sneaked it in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 with the help of Sen. Diane Feinstein.
As Cyndee Parker wrote in an article on the subject: In September of 1996, President Clinton signed into law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Buried at approximately page 650 of the new national Defense Bill, also known as Public Law 104-208, Part B, Title IV, the American public was given a national ID card. With no fanfare, no publicity and no scrutiny, the bill easily avoided the watchful eyes of even its most aggressive opponents.
Ms. Parker reported that a Georgia grassroots movement trying to repeal the states  Fingerprinting Law discovered the national ID tie. She reported that the group found the national law not only mandates a national ID card, but found how it is to be used. Its found in Section 401-403, pilot programs initiated by the US Attorney General. One such program is the Machine Readable Document Pilot Program, which provided that employers would have to procure a document reader linked to the federal governments Social Security Administration. The potential employee swipes their new (now mandated by the Real ID legislation introduced and passed at the behest of Republicans), the government would then approve or disapprove the hiring of the individual.
It is not difficult to understand why it is that so many have for so long opposed a national ID card particularly one that would give some agency the power to determine who can or cannot be hired. Granted that a call for national ID has been long pursued as the one means to deter the hiring of illegal immigrants, but at what price? And with what security for non abuse against US citizens or legal residents?
The weakness is at the information receiving end. Suppose the personnel on watch decide that no Jews should work, or Hispanic or Asian names or names ending with an i (Many Polish names). It cant happen? Think again.
Do you know that at each border port-of-entry or immigration/customs clearance at airports or sea ports, government personnel have the power to either let a persons enter the country or not? There are hundreds of cases wherein using personal criteria peoples visas have been taken away from them and made to return to their country without a hearing or even an explanation. Even people entering the US not to stay or even leave an airport, simply there to catch a connecting flight bound for another country. Some immigration officer makes a decision that the person looks like, or the name sounds like or whatever personal dislike and thats all it takes.
So if one is under the impression that such people dont exist when it comes to doing the same to US citizens or legal residents they are going to be in for a very unpleasant surprise.  There is always someone ready to abuse a system, its part of the human character. This is why in a democracy such as our, attempts at having any part of the government have too much information on any citizen has been taboo.
And it is precisely because of this that those in government wanting the government to have more control no matter how well intentioned their reasoning might be, usually hide such legislation deep in other pending bills designated must pass legislation such as the defense budget.
The 1996 legislation opening the door to national ID was no exception then it was California Senator Diane Feinstein who hid the legislation in the defense budget appropriations bill.
In 2005, it was Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sensenbrenner who hid the Real ID legislation mandating national ID cards, though he doesnt seem to know thats precisely what he has done in light of the 1996 approved law, in the Iraq and Afghanistan war effort budget.
The scary part is that hiding such items does not provide an opportunity for close scrutiny and debate, and that our elected representatives are such suckers to their own emotional biases and self righteousness believing themselves to be right even in the face of how wrong they are.
Patrick Osio, Jr is Editor of HispanicVista.com (www.hispanicvista.com). Contact at PosioJr@hispanicvista.com

Patrick Osio, Jr. has written a short but intensive manual on the Mexican perspective on numerous issues between our two countries. The manual is an in depth primer on the culture and protocol for better understanding Mexicans that in turn allows establishing personal and business relationships, and how to avoid the most common faux pas that can ruin relationships and business deals.

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