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United States Government Politics

Congress Debating "No-Work" Database 438

Posted by kdawson
from the try-getting-off-that-list dept.
grag writes "Cnet is reporting that the US Congress, in their quest for immigration reform, seeks to force employers to utilize a database to determine a person's eligibility for employment. The Department of Homeland Security would operate the database and would be given access to IRS records for this purpose. The article mentions similarities between this proposal and the no-fly list — and the expectation of similar difficulties the proposed database could pose to valid people seeking employment."
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Congress Debating "No-Work" Database

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  • by danbert8 (1024253) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:04AM (#19234309)
    This won't affect illegal immigrants working. Employers know they aren't elligible to work, they choose to employ them not just because they are cheaper labor, but because they do better work than the unionized workers here in the states.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:10AM (#19234343)
      This won't affect illegal immigrants working. Employers know they aren't elligible to work, they choose to employ them not just because they are cheaper labor, but because they do better work than the unionized workers here in the states.

      Mod parent up. Does anyone with half a clue think that the workers hanging around a street corner at 6am looking for construction bosses to pick them up are LEGAL? Who's kidding whom here?! They're not checking documents now, and that's a legal requirement already. They think that the existence of a database will somehow make people care any more?

      -b.

      • by Ihlosi (895663)
        They think that the existence of a database will somehow make people care any more?

        It will, once they've extraordinarily renditioned the first couple of offenders, or shipped them to Gitmo, or just disappeared them.

        • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:18AM (#19234413)
          It will, once they've extraordinarily renditioned the first couple of offenders, or shipped them to Gitmo, or just disappeared them.

          If that ever happened, it would be time to start voting with the rope and lamppost rather than with the ballot box.

          -b.

          • The only way employers will care of such a database is when the government decides to enforce the law with regards to illegal workers. And of course right now that enforcement is next to nothing. I suspect that our business friendly (read profit loving) Congress is not about to mess up the current system which makes so many big-whig donors a lot of money. As someone who served two years in commercial construction I can assure you that the fellas that had questionable immigration status sure worked their ass
            • Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:31AM (#19234507)
              The only way employers will care of such a database is when the government decides to enforce the law with regards to illegal workers.

              But white-collar and legal workers will be more likely to be checked through the database. And in the wrong hands, the database could be used to enforce a blacklist of people not allowed to work for various reasons.

              -b.

              • Quiting a job because of a nasty boss would probably rank #1 cause for getting on that list.
                • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
                  Quiting a job because of a nasty boss would probably rank #1 cause for getting on that list.

                  Unlikely to be that extreme -- then 90% of all Americans would be on the list and employers would have to hire illegals to take up the slack!

                  -b.

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by ElBeano (570883)
                There is already such a blacklist in Pennsylvania. I have a neighbor is on it and battling this through the courts. It was clearly abused in his case (though whether he will obtain remediation his is seeking through the courts is still an open question). No reason to think the same thing couldn't or wouldn't happen if this were national.
              • by btarval (874919) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:22AM (#19235023)
                "And in the wrong hands, the database could be used to enforce a blacklist of people not allowed to work for various reasons."

                s/could be/would be/

                Has there ever been a case of a government database which hasn't been misused? If this law passes, it's only a question of how many are going to get burned, not whether it's going to happen.

                • by Tony (765) *
                  If this law passes, it's only a question of how many are going to get burned, not whether it's going to happen.

                  How many are going to get burned?

                  All of us.
              • Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (Score:5, Interesting)

                by G27 Radio (78394) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:58AM (#19235649)
                But white-collar and legal workers will be more likely to be checked through the database. And in the wrong hands, the database could be used to enforce a blacklist of people not allowed to work for various reasons.

                I wonder what else will be in this database besides "not allowed" to work. I'd be afraid that eventually it'll turn into something where you have a "work score" similar to a credit score. Maybe I'm just paranoid because I spent five years unable to get a decent job before finding out the government has me listed as a felon. A year after notifying them of their error I'm still listed as a felon. I don't trust a database like this one bit. This is a bad idea.
            • by QuickFox (311231)
              Sounds like the real purpose of the bill is something else then.
          • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:35AM (#19234533)
            If that ever happened, it would be time to start voting with the rope and lamppost rather than with the ballot box.

            ... is the ammo box. Rope isn't anywhere in the list of boxes to vote with (soap, ballot, jury, ammo - no rope).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jaweekes (938376)
        I'm amazed that the politicians are talking about illegal workers and not the companies that employ them. Hold on... Nope, I'm not amazed!

        If they actually investigated the companies that employ illegal workers, and imposed a decent fine and/or prison for the CEO, and then had some high profile cases, then we wouldn't have a problem with it.

        The other problem is Americans. No matter how bad off people are, they will not go out in the mid-day sun and pick cotton or build houses for the pennies illegal
        • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          I'm amazed that the politicians are talking about illegal workers and not the companies that employ them. Hold on... Nope, I'm not amazed!

          I wonder how many politicians or their spouses employ illegal household help. As they say about glass houses and stones...

          -b.

        • Americans won't do it because we have a standard of living that is a lot higher than many of the illegals immigrants are used to. For the American worker, if they refuse the job they may lose it, but we have social support for the unemployed and there will be other jobs. Illegal immigrant workers on the other hand have no such luxury; all they have is poverty and death waiting for them if they refuse to work so they are a lot more motivated. Labor laws in this country are what keep children out of factorie
        • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @09:21AM (#19236183) Homepage Journal
          The other problem is Americans. No matter how bad off people are, they will not go out in the mid-day sun and pick cotton or build houses for the pennies illegal people will do it for.

          I think it's that last part that really needs to be emphasized. There are a lot of people running around -- usually politicians, but I've seen some newspaper editorials where it was said -- claiming that illegals do work that "Americans won't do." This is false.

          Anyone who doesn't believe it's false, can just turn on the Discovery Channel the next time they're running that "Dirty Jobs" program. There are people who do pretty unbelievable stuff [discovery.com] for a living; shoveling garbage, standing waist-deep in feces, working ridiculous hours in uncomfortable conditions, dodging machinery that could crush or tear you in half if you're not quick. But they don't do it for cheap. There's a reason why sanitation workers in NYC get paid more than cops -- otherwise, there wouldn't be any sanitation workers.

          There isn't anything that somebody in this country won't do, for the right compensation. All illegal workers do is allow big companies to get away with paying workers less than they ought to get, for dangerous/uncomfortable/unsafe/unsavory jobs. Ultimately, this hurts all legitimate workers, across the board: low-skilled workers are impacted the most, because it directly depresses their wages, but higher-skilled workers are hurt, too, because of the increased labor pool being pushed up from below, and also the increased tax burden (which is shouldered mostly by high-skilled, high-income workers) of supporting a surplus of low-skilled workers and their attendant medical/educational/social costs.
    • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:23AM (#19234441)
      This won't affect illegal immigrants working
       
      Exactly; this is like gun control laws. People determined to disobey this law will do so just as they ignore current employment laws.
       
        they choose to employ them not just because they are cheaper labor
       
      And everyone always gets wrong WHY they're cheaper: payroll taxes. The face value of illegal labor is only a little lower than the legal labor but behind the scenes not having to pay the additional taxes an employer has to pick up makes the difference HUGE. Yet another reason to go to the Fair Tax [fairtax.org]. Tax reform would go a LONG way toward taking care of the illegal worker problem all by itself without this half baked database idea.
       
        because they do better work than the unionized workers here in the states
       
      Oh no, not at all true all the time. The illegal workers the my HOA's maintenance contractor picks up at the day labor pool do extremely shoddy work. It all comes down to being ultra cheap which is how he undercuts all the other bids by at least half. Now if only the board would listen to the complaints more and look at the numbers less but that's another rant...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ronadams (987516)
        I second your disagreement with the GP about illegals doing better work. This is the sort of P.C. warm feel-good sentiments that spread amongst the populace like a propaganda virus; the idea that illegal immigrants must be diligent industrious folks who have come here to do the jobs no one else will do, and work extra hard for the American Dream. The fact is, they have come here because they know there's free health care, housing and damn near everything else to be had. Are many hard-working? You bet. That
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HostAdmin (1073042)
      But it creates such a wonderful opportunity for another government data base. If you're really lucky you can get on both the NO FLY list and the NO WORK list.

      We need to re-boot government instead of adding more programs trying to fix the corrupted ones. Go back to the source code (Articles of Confederation), recompile our operating system and re-install it without 200+ years of bloatware.

    • by kalirion (728907)
      So what happens if you share a name with an illegal immigrant? It's not like they'll have a social security number to differentiate with. We know that with the no fly list even sharing a part of your name is enough to be kicked out of the airport.
  • by imikem (767509) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:10AM (#19234341) Homepage
    ...a list of 535 people who do no work.
  • by LordPhantom (763327) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:14AM (#19234367)
    You know, this may be being implemented with the best of intentions (stopping illegal workers, etc), but do we really want to give the government an easy way to "flip a switch" (or bit) and make it impossible for any one person to earn a living?

    This isn't just a "don't fly" list, and I suspect that in its initial incarnation it wouldn't have the same .... due process that the local police arresting someone would.

    If not this government what about the one that is elected five years from now? Nine? What about the (admittedly hypothetical) government that is elected in 2020 that wants to prevent convicted felons from holding certain classes of jobs (more so than stigma already does?) Political dissidents?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      What about the (admittedly hypothetical) government that is elected in 2020 that wants to prevent convicted felons from holding certain classes of jobs (more so than stigma already does?)

      Feature creep, anyone? Will this database just do a yes/no answer, or will employers be able to eventually request a background report, list of previous checks and jobs, etc... If this is merely a yes/no answer, it's somewhat acceptable, but anything more is not ok. Furthermore, will this just increase the use of fake

    • by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <.gro.aixenna. .ta. .hcir.> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:24AM (#19234447) Homepage

      You know, this may be being implemented with the best of intentions (stopping illegal workers, etc), but do we really want to give the government an easy way to "flip a switch" (or bit) and make it impossible for any one person to earn a living?

      It's funny you should say that because according to the book I'm reading at the moment [wikipedia.org], this was precisely the method used to control low-level thought criminals by the Stasi in the former East Germany.

      Say something indiscreet in public? Mysteriously you'd lose your job and no matter how hard you tried you just couldn't get past an interview for even the most unskilled job.

      Rich.

      • by soren100 (63191) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:52AM (#19235533)

        Say something indiscreet in public? Mysteriously you'd lose your job and no matter how hard you tried you just couldn't get past an interview for even the most unskilled job.

        That's already happening with the no-fly list. A Princeton professor who gave a televised speech criticizing Bush's constitutional overreach found himself on the no-fly list afterwards. A guy who wrote a book called "Bush's Brain" about Karl Rove found himself on the no-fly list [dailykos.com] afterwards. 20 Wisconsin peace activists suddenly found themselves on the no-fly list [commondreams.org].

        The no-fly list is even being used to harass opposition political party members. Senator Ted Kennedy [washingtonpost.com] suddenly found himself on the no-fly list and had a lot of trouble getting himself off the list. The head of the TSA had to call him personally and promise to take him off the list before his troubles ended. In the same article, it talks about employees of the ACLU also ending up on the list.

        Giving the government more secret and anonymous "lists" to deny people rights is not an invitation to abuse, it's a guarantee of it. The fact that systems like this from previous fascist governments are being implemented in modern-day America is one reason that people are arguing that America is on a well-planned transition to fascism. [guardian.co.uk]

    • by polar red (215081)
      "stopping illegal workers" Tell me again how the US would look like if this sort of thing would have been implemented 200 years ago ? a big poor country with a lot less people in it. There have been published a some studies that indicate that stopping immigration would wreck one's economy. This is of course not even mentioning the ethical considerations of building high walls around a country. (letting copper,oil, .. in but not people ??? that's saying : matter is valued higher than people)
      • matter is valued higher than people

        Umm... yes? Didn't you get the memo?

        What do you think? Putting human beings in the center of considerations? You ARE aware that this was the catch phrase of the Communists, yes? What are you, a Commie?
    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      This is total bullshit. Someone hiring illegal immigrants is committing a crime, if the immigrants are in the database, what's the difference?

      If the government was serious about stopping immigration they would crack down not on the immigrants but on the companies hiring them, but of course, they don't want to stop their friends from making big bucks. The immigrants wouldn't come if nobody could hire them.

      The same hypocrisy happens here in the EU. The right-wing politicians score big time with the pub

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LilGuy (150110)
        The war on terror is every bit as much bullshit as the war on drugs. You cannot win a war against an idea. Ideas do not die, they merely fade from consciousness if given the opportunity. When you drag it out into a public war, you keep that idea alive and give it many more followers. This defeats the purpose of having the war, assuming the purpose was to disperse the idea and get rid of it.

        All I see are wagons circling these days. War on guns, war on terror, war on drugs, war on immigration, war on this
    • You know, this may be being implemented with the best of intentions

      So they'll claim. I'm quite certain that the intentions are anything but good.

      This isn't just a "don't fly" list, and I suspect that in its initial incarnation it wouldn't have the same .... due process that the local police arresting someone would.

      There's one of your "intentions" right there. The Bush administration has never regarded due process as anything but a bothersome obstacle in its quest for unfettered power.

      If not this government what about the one that is elected five years from now? Nine?

      Elected?

  • Next up.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by woolio (927141) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:14AM (#19234369) Journal
    DHS will attempt to create national a database of irrational numbers....

    After all, computer security could be improved if we keep these pesky numbers out of our calculations. By Federal Law, all numerical calculations will require verifification with the National Irrational Number Database (NIHD) to ensure these numbers do not penetrate our borders.

  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:17AM (#19234405)
    There's a variety of "no work" databases out there. As a healthcare organization, we're required to check them or else we'll lose our Medicare status. For example, there's one that lists people who have been convicted of fraud. If we employ them, we could lose our Medicare reimbursement.

    From a database perspective, the problem is making some automated process to make this work. Most lists I've seen don't have SSN, so you have to do crazy name matches. Of course, people convicted of fraud always use their real name, right?

    Putting civil liberties aside, from a straight technical standpoint it would be great if everyone had a unique identifier and people would give lists that have these unique identifiers. I realize people have heart attacks over SSN, but there's nothing else out there at the moment (and it drives me nuts when banks use knowing SSN as proof-of-identity).

    I'm not advocating we switch to some "everyone gets a number" society, but it's equally silly to pass laws requiring us to check lists of names and not expect it to be wildly inaccurate.
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)
      It's a bad time to be named John Smith, in today's America.

      Terrorist, Tax Dodger, Fraud Artist, Unemployed Worker...

      Parents, save your kids and give them unique names! Who cares if they get picked on in school? There sure as hell won't be any Fibonacci Martel Williams Fourier Johnsons on any of these database lists!
      • When we bought our house, our escrow company checked several variations of the owner's name. It turns out there was an unusual one and sure enough, there were liens against him from a previous court judgment. Soon ensued a wacky setup where the person selling the house didn't want to formally sell it until he could settle with the previous party (presumably for less money). We ended up living in our house for months without having clear title to the place.

        Though we didn't try the guy at all, our escro
      • " There sure as hell won't be any Fibonacci Martel Williams Fourier Johnsons on any of these database lists! "

        There is now! Hell never work on this planet again.
      • Fibonacci? Doesn't that sound a tad bit foreign? Or ... Arab?

        Huh? Italian? Italian, Arab, heck, from somewhere in that shady corner of the world over there, who cares?
    • we have this "everyone gets a number" here in in brasil and it works great. it's CPF, short for "Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas" (Natural Persons Registration).

      other than the ocasional fraud for identity theft (nothing of the epidemic scale of ID theft i heard is happening in US), it's not used by the government to spy on people or opress the population. but it helps a great deal to find out who has bad credit without risking flaging the wrong person, plus it helps identifying a particular person where common
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      Ask yourself why people don't like sharing their SSN, then ask yourself in what way a "unique identifier" would be better.
  • A good thing! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:22AM (#19234437)
    OK, so I can go to jail for hiring someone that isn't a citizen, but right now I have no way to find-out if they are a citizen. The only thing I have is a copy John Smith's SS card that may or may not be real along with his W-4 that I have no way of verifying. I'm in NC and any illegal can get a drivers license here so every illegal I hire has a photo ID with a name that matches their usually bogus paperwork. I've probably found five dozen guys that couldn't spell the name on their NC driver's license. If they happen to reuse the same SSN as an existing employee then I'll know an existing employee is illegal so I can fire them and not hire the new guy, but that doesn't happen often. Again, I have no legal way to tell the difference. So if the Federal government finally gives me an additional tool then that helps protect myself and my wife when the feds eventually return to arrest me again for hiring illegals. Even if the tool doesn't help in reality, it at least gives me an additional defense to use in court. "But I did everything I possibly could to verify their status before hiring them. I even checked against the no-work database."

    It just sucks being held criminally liable to verify something that I can't verify. I want to do the right thing.

    PS: Before some racist person claims I shouldn't hire Mexicans, I'm not. I'm hiring mostly white or SE Asian guys that speak good English for retail jobs. Most of them are from eastern Europe or India. I live about equidistant from UNC, NC State, and Duke so there are a lot of foreigners here legally.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smurfsurf (892933)
      To me, it looks like you already do everything you possibly could to verify their status. Make copies of their documents, document what you checked and the results. What can be held against you in court? An additional thing to check does not change your current position of having done the things that can reasonably be expected of you.
    • Re:A good thing! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:29AM (#19235141) Journal

      The only thing I have is a copy John Smith's SS card that may or may not be real along with his W-4 that I have no way of verifying

      It just sucks being held criminally liable to verify something that I can't verify

      You know that you CAN verify [ssa.gov] if an SSN is ligit and if it belongs to that person right? You also know that you are supposed to have a new employee fill out a I-9 [uscis.gov] form, which includes instructions on verifying employment eligibility, right? Look at it and hit page 3. Assuming all you have is an SSN card and a drivers license (typical for new hires) then you can verify that the SSN is ligit through the SSA. If your new hire thinks ahead (I did) they will bring their passport and save you the trouble.

      Either way, it's pretty easy to verify that somebodies SSN isn't fake and that they can legally work. The tools are there for those that want to use them. The problem is that the people hiring illegals don't care.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)
      If you have copies of there ID, then you are protected. Even if itnturns out to be false, you did your due dilegence.
    • To McDonalds it's a no-fry list
    • To Hooters it's a no-guy list
    • To Walmart it's a no-buy list
    Stopping b4 I lose the will to live.
  • Love of freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuickFox (311231) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:30AM (#19234489)
    FTA:

    "This bill brings us closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom," President Bush said in his radio address on Saturday.
    (My emphasis.)

    Somehow I feel that "love of freedom" isn't quite the right term here.
    • by weighn (578357)

      Somehow I feel that "love of freedom" isn't quite the right term here.
      oh, I don't think so. Not being free to work implies that you're still free to consume
    • Oh, in the light of 1984 and its definition of freedom (as in "the dog is free of fleas"), it makes sense. Maybe he meant the love of being free of illegal workers?
  • by kevinadi (191992) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:32AM (#19234511)
    ... the US government is treating citizens and non-citizens like criminals. If the no-job list gets through after the no-fly list, pretty soon there'll be more no-* lists created. Can you imagine? No-internet, no-insurance, no-buy-home, etc etc. What they don't realize is that they're practically discouraging people that WANTS to live and work LEGITIMATELY in the US to even go to the US by putting up so much red tape while solving none of the immigration problems in the first place.

    Imagine if one day the databases got corrupted, and suddenly you find yourself in the no-job list even though you've built your career legitimately for decades in the US as a foreigner. Not a scenario I'd like to live with, and something I'd rather not risk to happen. I just hope the Australian govt don't go along with this brain-dead scheme.

    How much you wanna bet that soon the politicians will help themselves to no-tax and no-small-income list. Or maybe they did that already? I know for sure that they're already in the no-brain list.

    "This bill brings us closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom," President Bush said in his radio address on Saturday.

    Heh. Yeah. Definitely no-brain list.
  • ...in a few years we will need a list to list the lists.

    One List to rule them all, One List to find them, One List to bring them all, and in the illegality bind them.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:40AM (#19234571) Homepage
    To control political dissidents.

    "Al those people at the protest for the war, add them to the no work list. That will teach them to disagree with our glorious leader.

    Sorry, there is no other legitimate use for this list other than opression.
  • by ATestR (1060586) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @07:41AM (#19234579) Homepage

    Roman Kingdom (753 BC - 510 BC) ............ Colonial America (1500's - 1776)

    Roman Republic (509 BC - 44 BC) ............ United States (1776 - ~1950's)

    Roman Empire (44 BC - 369 AD) .............. United States (~1950's - ???)

    I think an analogy can be made between the Roman Republic and the US up until the mid-50's or so. However, this also suggests that the current nation is more like the Roman Empire, where taxes are high, the rich get richer and the poor poorer (and the middle class being squeezed more and more into the later group), and the people have less and less input into the national government every year. The military gets squeezed, and will be unable to respond when it needs to.

    The decline of the Roman Empire was a gradual process. After thriving for hundreds of years, the Empire was begun to fail by 369 AD for a number of reasons.

    • The Government was running out of money.
      What is the US National Debt now? $3 Trillion? Someday in the not too distant future, this is going to come back and bite us.
    • The people had to pay up to a third of their money in taxes.
      I wish I had to pay only a third of my money in taxes. Between Federal, State, Local (Property Taxes), FICA, Medicare, etc., I figure that approximately 46% of my income never sees my wallet.
    • The rich were given grants of money and land.
      Can we say juicy government contracts? And it is becoming more and more common for States to try to attract large businesses by offering tax and other "incentives".
    • There was not enough money to pay for the army.
      See spending priorities.
    • The barbarian Vandals were invading the Empire from Germany.
      Well, at least the Vandals didn't fly a jet plane into the colosseum.
    • No one had decided on a good way to choose an Emperor
      And in the last few presidential elections, I have concluded that our system is almost defunct. BOTH sides tend to nominate candidates that cater to the most extreme elements of their respective party. We end up with a executive who doesn't represent the people.

    'Nuff said.

    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      The barbarian Vandals were invading the Empire from Germany. Well, at least the Vandals didn't fly a jet plane into the colosseum.

      The Christians set fire to Rome ... Emperor Nero said so, so it must be true ? At least he was also fairly good at organizing the relief effort after the disaster.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)
      No guys - you are no more heirs to the Roman Empire than the vandals were. You are really run by poorly educated barbarians with suprising amounts of superstition often following an extremely dumbed down religeon that has been perverted to focus a great deal on wealth. The remaining attempts to grab on to the last vestiges of slavery are both shocking and pathetic.

      Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry at my nation getting pushed around by your barbarian overlords. At least have some way to stop

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      Well, the Roman Empire soon started to crack after the Republic was replaced by it. The begin of the downfall was already noticable (ok, hindsight...) in the late first and early second century (AD).

      The Empire has stretched to its utmost capabilities. Until then, the governors got rich by squeezing the occupied lands dry. They had to deliver a certain tax to Rome, and whatever they manage to squeeze out of the land and people beyond that was theirs. The logical consequence was that they squeezed as hard as
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pi_rules (123171)

      What is the US National Debt now? $3 Trillion?


      $8,808,953,574,476.61 and counting.
    • And in the last few presidential elections, I have concluded that our system is almost defunct. BOTH sides tend to nominate candidates that cater to the most extreme elements of their respective party. We end up with a executive who doesn't represent the people.

      Actually, I think this is how things used to be rather than how they are now. You could make a strong argument that the Repulican Party's presidential victories in 1968, 1972, 1984 and 1988 were as a result of the Democratic candidate winning the
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sheldon (2322)
        The thing about GW Bush, is that he isn't really liberal or conservative in the classic sense. He's basically taken the worst aspects from all ideologies and blended them together, or something like that. But you can't really blame him. His attitudes serve a generation of weirdness. Things that have come to be since the 1960s, combined with old-school attitudes, combined with mere confusion.

        Call it post-industrial or something. But it's like PETA meets Archie Bunker. It's very Bleeding Heart in so man
  • Right now the empolyer and empolyee both have reason to keep an illegal status secrest and no real motivation to report it. They are also the two people best equipped to report it. If we were actaully serious about preventing illegal labor (which I personally think is silly) we would destroy the trust in the transaction by giving on party a reason to default. It this case it would be easy, give a green card to an illegal who reports an employer.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:00AM (#19234725) Journal
    There are many real reasons why employers prefer illegal workers. Cheaper wages, lower payroll taxes, freedom from OSHA regulations, cheaper overtime and more control over the employees. But the most commonly stated official reason for hiring illegal workers is, it is impossible to find who is legal and who is not. Some would go so far as to suggest that checking the citizenship status of prospective employees would leave them open to discrimination lawsuits. This no-work database might be a badly compromised version of plugging this standard escape route.

    There is no way we can stop illegal immigration without finding and punishing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Atleast for the immigrants you could say, they are poor, uneducated, they have nothing to lose and all they are trying to do is to feed their family by working instead of stealing. But most employers of illegals, are rich, educated, they have a lot to lose if caught, and they are undercutting their competitors who employ legal workers. They are the ones who trigger the race to the bottom.

    People who oppose such data bases should suggest alternatives by which this "race to the bottom" can be avoided and employers of legal status workers are not unfairly undercut by others who employ the illegals.

    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      Some would go so far as to suggest that checking the citizenship status of prospective employees would leave them open to discrimination lawsuits.

      Strawman argument. Check citizenship/work permit after the decision to hire has been made.

      People who oppose such data bases should suggest alternatives by which this "race to the bottom" can be avoided and employers of legal status workers are not unfairly undercut by others who employ the illegals.

      Report the competitors you suspect of using illegal labor

  • if you give work visas to just about anybody who asks?
  • ...that's what they called it back in the 50s, during the McCarthy era. I suppose if we just change the name, it'll be OK.
  • and frankly, local police officials, who don't arrest the open-secret workers.

    and all of the immigration guys, because they won't respond to the local cops unless there is a major crime involved.

    none of these pinheads should get work again until they fix the issues that already exist.

    congress: no money for DHS until they do what they've already got the authority to do.

    immigration: ship 'em back or sleep under a bridge.

    local cops: no donut for you unless you get the illegals off the streets.

    OTHERWISE, kwit
  • by grandpa-geek (981017) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:39AM (#19235297)
    Social security numbers were designed in an era before modern concepts of error control had been developed. Shannon didn't do his work on information theory until World War II, and social security was set up before that.

    Social security numbers have no check digits. Any common error on a social security number (such as changing a digit or transposing digits) can result in another valid social security number.

    The system was set up to handle accounts for old-age retirement and for support of children after the death of the breadwinner ("survivors insurance"). It was never intended to serve as a national personal identifier, and does that job very poorly.

    This proposal will only compound the problems of using 70-year-old technology, originally designed for a limited purpose, for uses far beyond its originally intended use.

    The use of social security numbers as personal identifiers is an Achilles' heel of this proposal.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:39AM (#19235311) Homepage Journal
    The real issue is Homeland Security getting their grubby, dirty, little hands onto the IRS database.

    As it works right now, Only the IRS has access to income records.
    So, if the FBI wanted to catch someone, they oculd go to the IRS and ask "Has this person paid taxes." The IRS can say Yes or NO. Or the IRS can go to the FBI and say person X hasn't paid taxes, please go get them."

    That is how it works and should work.
    SO you could right down 50,000 income - Bank robbery. No investigation will happen.

    I know, some people will be like "No Way" but I dealt with this for years, and I am sure there are plenty of online sources that will coroberate.

    Homeland security needs to be done away with, now.

  • by PAjamian (679137) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @08:58AM (#19235653)

    "As currently structured, Basic Pilot does not detect duplicate active records in its database," John Shandley, the company's senior vice president of human resources, told politicians. "The same Social Security number could be in use at another employer, and potentially multiple employers, across the country."

    In a recent statement about the bill, the White House maintained that the proposal will allow for "unprecedented" information sharing among federal and state agencies, and that Homeland Security will be able to receive "information on multiple uses of the same Social Security number by more than one individual."

    I see a huge potential problem with this. In order to detect duplicate employment employers will have to report that an employee is working with them and also report when an employee quits or is fired. Imagine moving across the country to a new job only to find that they can't employ you because your previous employer forgot (either genuinely or maliciously) to report that you had stopped working for them, so the system sees you working on the other side of the country and determines that you must be using fraudulent credentials.

    Also, what about those people who simply need to maintain two jobs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Also, what about those people who simply need to maintain two jobs?


      Clearly, that will no longer be allowed. Anyway, its unChristian: the Bible says no man can serve two masters.

  • by airship (242862) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @09:43AM (#19236689) Homepage
    At a concert venue somewhere in the USA:

    Guard: "What do you want?"
    Jennifer Lopez: "I have a concert here tonight. Let me in."
    Guard: "I don't know. You look Mexican to me."
    JLo: "I am HISPANIC!"
    Guard: "What's your name?"
    JLo: "What? Do you live in a box?? I am JENNIFER LOPEZ!!!!"
    Guard: "Uh... okay. Oh, here you are. I'm sorry I can't let you in."
    JLo: "WHAT! Why not???"
    Guard: "Your name is on the 'No Work' list."
    JLo: "@#$%^&*(!!!!! Jennifer Lopez is a VERY common Hispanic name! That's not me!!!"
    Guard: "Sorry. You're on the list, you don't work. It's the law."

    So what I'm trying to say is that at least ONE good thing would come out of this law. :)

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