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John Gilmore on Real ID and why the immigration bill died
The Senate voted today to kill the immigration bill, so Real ID remains
intact and unchanged. And, more importantly, unexpanded.
There's a good argument -- that John makes below and I do in my News.com
article -- that the Real ID flap was what killed the broader immigration
So the police state Doomsday Clock moves one minute further from midnight.
Previous Politech message:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Senate backs away from Real ID Act [priv]
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 17:12:15 -0700
From: John Gilmore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Declan McCullagh <email@example.com>
The interesting part is that the Bush Administration wouldn't take out
the Real National ID stuff in order to let immigration reform, their
most very favorite pet project, survive.
The control freaks want that big federal database of every person in
the country, badly. They want it despite the massive opposition to it
in state legislatures and among ordinary people. What motivated the
two Montana Senators (Baucus and Tester) to remove Real National ID
from the bill is that Montana's state legislature and governor had just
voted overwhelmingly to refuse to implement Real National ID in Montana
state drivers' licenses.
For those who didn't read the immigration bill, it would not have been
a big deal to yank the "Real ID" requirement from it. The Montana
Senators' language would do it without trouble. Even without Real
National ID, the bill would still contain a new requirement that every
employer check in a database and get an affirmative "OK" back from the
feds when hiring each person (or fire them within 10 to 30 days).
Personally I think that goes beyond the enumerated powers of the
federal government; I think every citizen has a right to work for a
living, with or without the permission of the feds.
That database check requirement was to be enforced by having the
Social Security Administration turn over all the employment records
they receive quarterly (with payroll taxes) to the Gestapo. DHS would
then compare the payroll records against the records of who's been
vetted for employment, to catch the employers who declined to
participate in this little federal power grab. To escape the federal
net as an employer, you'd not only have to skip the federal scan on
your workers, you'd have to skip the whole federal tax collection and
reporting on them (and state taxes too, or the feds would catch you by
comparing federal to state records). While this might have been a
good thing in the long run, by encouraging employers to opt entirely
out of feeding money to the Washington kleptocracy, it would raise the
risks for everybody. Especially for the law-abiding sheep whose every
move would be tracked for later fleecing.
An immigration bill that didn't eliminate Americans' right to work at
any job they please, with or without federal permission, was not
acceptable to Bush and his cronies. Apparently, every policy change
is a chance to bring us closer to the ideal police state. If you
can't get the police state, well, never mind the policy change after
PS: The attempt to force a process of "get federal permission to hire
FIRST" on the country is eerily parallel to the DHS proposal to
require airlines to "get federal permission to transport FIRST".
Today, airlines can bring you to the US without permission, but they
are liable for the cost of carrying you elsewhere if the US won't
admit you. This naturally limits their willingness to bring random
people -- but allows people to come and apply for asylum, for example.
The Gestapo announced months ago that they plan to change this to
require each passenger's info to be submitted long before the plane
takes off, getting an affirmative "OK", or else the passenger would
not be allowed on board at all. As with other federal watchlist
checks, this would come with zero due process protection for the
passenger, and zero accountability for the government. If they
mysteriously keep saying "No", there's nothing that you as a citizen
could do to get back into your own country. They wouldn't even have
to jail or detain you, such that a lawyer could go to court with some
urgency to spring you. No, YOU would have to sue THEM, and it would
take years in the courts. It's the same in the immigration bill if
the Feds refuse hiring permission. They have impunity and you have no
rights. It's the underlying Bush Administration, or should I merely
say Federal, philosophy.
Posted by Declan McCullagh on Jun 28, 2007
in category privacy
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