Should U.S. Citizens be Required to Carry National Identity Cards

The proponents of the national identity cards would like us to believe that such an identification system is necessary in this day and age of terrorism and illegal immigrants. Although most countries in Europe and some parts of Asia already implement the ID system, such a system remains widely debatable in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom. This is due partly to problems in implementation; function description and various privacy issues that are entailed in implementing such a type of national ID.The main argument in support of each American carrying a national ID card is that it will help the average American distinguish between a suspicious person in their presence whose identity requires confirmation. Another reason that it might be a good idea for an American to carry a national ID card is that it can serve as a universally accepted, government issued ID that will help hasten any government and social related businesses of individuals.

It will make it easier to do a background check on any applicant or service user in order to insure the security of individuals and of the nation.If one were to stop and think about the ramifications of a national ID card, it would really seem like such a minor inconvenience and invasion of privacy. After all, it is meant to protect us from the evils of terrorism and the abuses of illegal immigrants. But, does it really serve a useful purpose that cannot be accomplished by our Social Security Number card, driver’s license, etc.?Originally created in 1936, the Social Security Number was meant to be the predecessor of the modern national ID. Moves to try to widen the information coverage of the SSN card eventually lost and in 1973, the proposal was killed when the Health, Education and Welfare Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems concluded that the idea was “undesirable”. Since that time, there have been various veiled proposals for some sort of national ID card. All of which get shut down by public opinion that reached a fever pitch when the 1999 Congress repealed the provision in the Illegal Immigration Reform and.

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Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 that required the SSN number inclusion in the driver’s licenses.After the events of 9/11 though, public opinion has become divided in favor and against the implementation of the national ID card. According to the National ID Card and Real ID website:Soon after the attacks, Larry Ellison, head of California-based software company Oracle Corporation, called for the development of a national identification system and offered to donate the technology to make this possible. He proposed ID cards with embedded digitized thumbprints and photographs of all legal residents in the U.S.Nothing came of his proposal because the idea of a national ID card was deemed to be stepping on the civil liberties of the American Citizen and is basically an issue that should be dealt with on a state to state basis. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, in 2004 even went as far as to say that:The legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security was very specific on the question of a national ID card. They said there will be no national ID cardWe live in modern war time America.

We live with illegal immigrants and possibly terrorist cells within our cities. Research shows that this is a reality we have to deal with. History will judge the actions our country took in the name of protecting the country. Some people say that the only way to protect the country is by accepting that a national ID system is a necessary evil. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Cal) was once quoted as saying:When we consider ourselves to be at war, people are going to have to recognize that some of their freedoms are going to be gone. Whether we are talking about national ID cards I don’t know, or fingerprinting everybody, I don’t know where we are going to go with security.

If we allow fear of the unknown to dictate how we treat people, if we demand that people show papers to prove their status in life, then the United States will simply have revived the racism that existed in Germany during World War 2 in their own country. Stanford Law professor and former representative Tom Campbell painted an eerie picture of what requiring an American citizen to carry a national ID card would entail in the following statement:If you have an ID card, it is solely for the purpose of allowing the government to compel you to produce it. This would essentially give the government the power to demand that we show our papers. It is a very dangerous thing.When Thomas Jefferson warned us that keeping our liberties required eternal vigilance, he probably did not realize how those words would still be echoing in our society 200 years later. The reality of our situation is that we do not know who the real enemies are and how to identify them. The problem is how to identify them without infringing on the liberties and rights of people as protected by the constitution.

What our government does not seem to realize is that with all the various government issued ID’s in use each day of our lives, there simply is no need for a mandatory uniform national ID system. Instead, all that has to be done is proper record collating and updating for each ID issued. In the event that an American citizen will be required to carry a national ID card, I fear that it will lead to abuses by the government and totalitarian powers that they should not have.

We have to realize that even with the existence of Homeland Security and the biometrics identification systems           in place every time a citizen is approved for a license, ID, or whatever, there is still no methodical way of keeping track of the people already in this country. There is no viable database and no people to do the work necessary to keep the system in order.There is also the reality that due to the millions of illegal immigrants already existing in the United States, a national ID would immediately be counterfeited and Homeland security would never be able to manage the data involved. It is almost impossible to integrate the already existing database and keep track or even trace people because the much needed computer equipment to make the system work does not exist yet. We don’t need a national ID system, but what we do need is a way to insure that all government databases are integrated and easily accessible by any government agency in need of the information.Before every citizen of the country is required to carry such a card, the government must consider that such an ID system is prone to fraud and abuse simply because of the logistics required in its implementation. A national ID system will simply be a symbolic gesture that will open each American citizen up to loss of privacy and freedom.

This leads us to a discussion regarding the proposed Real ID Act. Various researches have shown that this particular act poses a serious threat to the basic human rights of every American. Anybody who believes that a national ID will make us safer as residents and citizens of the United States is grasping at straws in defense of the act. No amount of paperwork and laws will stop a person determined to bring down the United States of America. Instead, this act will provide the foundation for the creation of police states. Once America changes the freedoms that their citizens enjoy, the terrorists have already won.

Instead of concentrating all government efforts on trying to pass a national ID card for every American to carry, what the government needs to concentrate on is preventing the entry of terrorists into the country and track down and prosecute those who fell into the cracks.The United States of America has been held in high regard as the leader of the free world and the epitome of human rights freedom. Having a national ID card will be the first vital step in destroying everything that the country stands for. Increasing security for the citizens should not have to include infringing on their rights Leave that to countries like the former Soviet Union and Communist China.  Having every American citizen carry a national ID is simply veiled government spying on the activities of an upstanding and rightful American citizen.

It is an identification system that will never succeed because it is based upon instilling fear in people and making them respond to mentally imagined fears.It is also my belief that the debate regarding carrying a national ID is becoming irrelevant mainly because most of the recent advances in technology use the most foolproof method of keeping track on a person and his records. It is called the DNA Identification system and has been implemented under our noses by the government under the alias of Biometrics Scanning using the retina and fingerprints for now. This is by far, the most foolproof national ID that man has ever invented.