Category Archive 'Illegal Combatants'

30 Apr 2010


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When Republicans are doing bad things, you can count on democrats to offer to go them one better.

The Hill:

Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

The proposal is one of the biggest differences between the newest immigration reform proposal and legislation crafted by late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.

It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

“The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,” states the Democratic legislative proposal. …

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), who has worked on the proposal and helped unveil it at a press conference Thursday, predicted the public has become more comfortable with the idea of a national identification card.

“The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” Durbin said. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification.

“People understand that in this vulnerable world, we have to be able to present identification,” Durbin added. “We want it to be reliable, and I think that’s going to help us in this debate on immigration.”


Ezra Klein offers details of the democrat plan, and actually identifies the important irony. Note that all this does not give the ephebe Ezra any particular problem personally.

The Democrats’ immigration-reform proposal (pdf) is 26 pages long. Pages 8 through 18 are devoted to “ending illegal employment through biometric employment verification.” I don’t think the Democrats are going to like me calling this a biometric national ID card, as they go to great lengths to say that it is not a national ID card, and make it “unlawful for any person, corporation; organization local, state, or federal law enforcement officer; local or state government; or any other entity to require or even ask an individual cardholder to produce their social security card for any purpose other than electronic verification of employment eligibility and verification of identity for Social Security Administration purposes.”

But it’s still a biometric national ID card. It’s handed out by the Social Security Administration and employers are required to check it when hiring new employees. Essentially, if you want to participate in the American economy, you need this card. “Within five (5) years of the date of enactment, the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes,” the bill says. “This requirement will exist even if the employer does not yet possess the capability to electronically verify the employee by scanning the card through a card reader.”

The theory here is simple: Illegal immigration is a problem because illegal immigrants can get jobs. As the bill says, “in order to prevent future waves of illegal immigration, this proposal recognizes that no matter what we do on the border, our ports of entry, and in the interior, we will not be completely effective unless we can prevent the hiring, recruitment, or referral of unauthorized aliens in America’s workplaces. Jobs are what draw illegal immigrants to the United States.” …

The oddity of this strategy, of course, is that anti-immigration sentiments run highest among the same communities that are most opposed to national ID cards. Now, it’s also the case that if you’re going to support citizenship searches for people with Hispanic-looking shoes, it’s a bit odd to worry about an ID card to verify employment. But even so, without Republicans on the bill to give this strategy cover, it’ll be interesting to see whether the anti-immigrant right embraces the ID card as a way of staunching the flow of illegal immigrants or assails Democrats for trying to create a biometric police state.

02 Apr 2008

John Yoo Memo Released

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Baltimore Sun:

Part 1

Part 2

Sample (from Part 1): On why Due Process is not applicable to war-time military operations:

The strictures that bind the Executive in its role as a magistrate enforcing the civil laws have no place in constraining the President in waging war:

    Soldiers regularly in the service have the license of the government to deprive men,the active enemies of the government, of their liberty and lives; their commission so to act is as perfect and legal as that of a judge to adjudicate …. Wars never have been and never can be conducted upon the principle that an army is but a posse comitatis ofa civil magistrate..

Military Commissions, 11 Op.Att’y Gen. 297, 301-02 (1865) (emphasis added); see also The Modoc Indian Prisoners, 14 Op. Att’y Gen. 249, 252 (1873) (“it cannot be pretended that a United States soldier is guilty of murder if he kills a public enemy in battle, which would be the case if the municipal law was in force and, applicable to an· act committed under such circumstances”).. As Attorney General Speed conciuded, the Due Process Clause has no application to the conduct of a military campaign:

    That portion of the Constitution which declares that ‘no person shall be deprived… of his life,liberty, or property without due process of law,’ has such direct reference to, and connection with, trials for crime or criminal prosecutions that comment upon it would seem to be unnecessary. Trials for offences against the laws of war are not embraced or intended to be embraced in those provisions…. The argument that flings around offenders against the laws of war these guarantees of the Constitution would convict all the soldiers of our anny of murder; no prisoners could be taken and held; the anny could not move. The absurd consequences that would of necessity flow from .such an argument show that it cannot be the true construction-it cannot be what was intended by the framers of the instrument. One of the prime motives for the Union and a federal government was to confer the powers of war. If· any provisions of the .. Constitution are so in conflict with the power to carry on war as to destroy and make it valueless, then the instrument,instead of being a great and wise one, is a miserable failure “a felo de se.”

I thought it was a fine piece of work, placing the issues in the correct historical perspective, citing proper precedents, and arriving at just and accurate conclusions. The Bush Administration ought to have released it immediately upon its production, and staunchly publicly defended it.

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