The Real Reason Bush's Immigration Bill Went Down in Flames
If you heard about the defeat of President Bush's immigration bill in the news, you might have read that the bill failed because conservatives didn't want to grant illegal immigrants amnesty.
But that's not the real reason.
In reality, the Senate voted to delete the portion of the bill that would have required employees to submit to prospective employers what would essentially be a national ID card.
This "Real ID" initiative, authorized in a 2005 law, is in big trouble. Numerous states have enacted legislation stating they won't comply with it. Proponents of the immigration bill hoped to force employers to demand Real ID, in effect mandating a national ID card through the backdoor. But when the Senate voted to strip out Real ID, the proponents of national ID backed away, and the bill went down in flames.
Even without Real ID, the bill would have required employers to receive permission to hire prospective employees from a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That requirement was to be enforced by having the Social Security Administration turn over all employment records they receive quarterly (with payroll taxes) to the DHS. The DHS would then cross-match the payroll records against the names of persons who had been hired.
There's little doubt that lawmakers will find another way to force a national ID card on us. But it won't be through the immigration bill - at least not this year.