E-Verify and the Emerging Surveillance State - Part 2

October 6, 2008

The E-Verify System is promoted as the only foolproof way to stop illegals from obtaining jobs. Advocates say the program has enough safeguards to protect citizens. Not so fast. Once the system is in place there are huge gaps that allow massive fraud.

To work efficiently, an E-Verify System allows employers access to a centralized record of all legal residents and citizens. Given the government's mixed record on data security, this could become a one-stop-shop for identity theft.

First, illegals and those employers wishing to hire them can simply work under the table, paying cash, hiding the transaction from any official source. Illegals don't regularly file income taxes, so the hire isn't hard to hide.

On a larger scale, it must be understood that illegal immigration is big business and it has the money and the means to create false documents and to provide "legal" identification, complete with matching names and Social Security numbers.

Today, many illegals simply make up names and Social Security numbers, hoping not to get caught. Of course, the E-Verify system would catch them. However, in response, an illegal only has to obtain the name and SS number of a legal citizen. While that legal person may already be working a job, it will not create an alert if the information is used by someone else.

Such information can be available through a wide variety of situations, including stolen lists and select employees with access to databases like the Social Security lists. Organized crime can certainly have well placed cohorts. The process would create a massive criminal market for Americans citizens' personal information.

The only way to stop it is for the federal government to create a new database that records every new hire and monitor all employees in the nation.

The real losers in this game are the people who have now had their identity stolen in the process. They may be the ones accused of identity theft as they suddenly discover someone else is using their name and SS number.

Of course, the federal government has proven it has no ability to safeguard the records in its current databases. And the more databases established, the more opportunity for theft.

Recently, federal employees have been caught "sneaking a peek" at the passports of a large number of celebrities and even presidential candidates including Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

In August of this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lost a laptop computer which contained the records of 33,000 people who had signed up for its pre-screening program, designed to give travelers quicker access through airport security. The unencrypted information in the database included names, addresses, driver's license numbers, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, Alien registration numbers, and current credit card numbers.

The laptop was in the possession of employees of a private company contracting with TSA for the project. TSA signup documents for the project promise that the records will be maintained at its headquarters in Arlington, VA and "other authorized TSA or DHA secure facilities, as necessary, and at a digital safe site managed by a government contractor." In reality, the laptop was stashed in a locked office at the San Francisco Airport. There are a lot of laptops containing personal information of Americans being taking home by government employees these days. Why?

The greatest threat from establishment of a system such as E-Verify is the creation of perhaps unintended results. As Cato's Jim Harper surmises, "The things to make a system like this impervious to forgery and fraud would convert it from an identity system into a cradle-to-grave biometric tracking system."

"Mission Creep" is the commonly used description for a program designed for a specific purpose, but is later used for much more. A prime example of mission creep is the Social Security System itself. It was designed specifically as a means for people to deposit money into a government program to provide for their retirement years. Today, there are those who want to take its databank of users and transform it into an identity system to prove American citizenship. "Well, it's already there!" That's mission creep.

As reported in the beginning, DHS Secretary Chertoff intends to increase the E-Verify system to include biometric photographs and extended databases. On numerous occasions Secretary Chertoff has expressed his desire to create a national identification card that would include near complete information on its bearer. This would include job, medical, tax, and school records. It would also include biometric and facial recognition, with RFID microchips that could monitor the whereabouts of every American.

E-Verify is the beginning of the creation of such a system. Is it worth it for Americans to endure an existence in a well-controlled matrix of surveillance simply to catch some illegal workers? Communities across the nation are proving that illegals will stop coming here - in fact actually leave - if they are made to feel unwelcome.

E-Verify sets the stage for a national workforce management system which gives the government ultimate power to decide who works and who doesn't. It is designed to ultimately subject all Americans to an intrusive global surveillance system as the information in DHS databanks is being transferred to international systems through such DHS partners as American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The federal government has been given the mandate by the people to close the borders and keep them out. It doesn't require cradle-to-grave biometric tracking of every legal American to accomplish that task. Facts show that such "internal enforcement" would not reduce the illegality, it would promote it. Border security combined with real efforts by the government to keep illegals out of the country will do much more to stop the flood than by chaining American citizens to massive, all knowing surveillance data banks.

Copyright ©2008 Tom DeWeese