Democratic Congressional Candidate John Laesch held a press conference on November 19th (video below). The press conference was mostly about 14th District Republican Candidate Jim Oberweis’ mailing promoting the use of biometric ID cards for employment as a way to combat illegal immigration – a topic picked up by the Daily Herald last Wednesday. Laesch also criticized fellow Democrat Bill Foster for supporting biometric IDs.
While Bill Foster has my support in the race, I am not a supporter of biometric IDs. I’m concerned about them along civil liberty lines, as an invasion of privacy and a move towards mass surveillance. I am also skeptical that people who will risk their lives walking miles of desert for work will be stopped by biometric ID cards – or that it is the best, or most humane, policy to achieve the result. That doesn’t mean that addressing immigration issues, given the hyped up climate of fear, is easy. Unlike Jim Oberweis’ fear mongering on the issue, I believe Bill Foster’s approach comes from a humane pro-American, pro-worker and pro-business perspective – as his website puts it:
“It is unfair to ask businesses that are playing by the rules to compete against companies that employ workers who are here illegally. Fence or no fence, illegal immigrants will continue to flood our borders as long as there are jobs being illegally offered to them.
[With biometric IDs employers] will be able to quickly verify the legal immigration status of a job applicant by swiping a card on a device similar to those you see when dropping off a rental-car. With such an easy-to-use system in place, employers will be all out of excuses if they are caught employing illegal aliens. ”
John Laesch makes a number of immigration-related arguments below, but even where I agree with him, I think John’s argument needs work. The prepared text wanders and loses coherence. Everything may be connected, but more focus is more effective.