Deck of Cards

by Mark Steyn

Perhaps Mark Krikorian or one of our fellow Cornerites could help me out on this. Last night, explaining his position on illegal immigration, Mitt Romney said this:

The answer is we’re going to have a system that gives people who come legally a card that identifies them as coming here legally. Employers are going to be expected to inspect that card, see if they’re here legally. On that basis we’re going to be able to bring you to this country.

What’s he on about? I’ve got a card that identifies me as coming here legally. It’s called a Green Card, or “Permanent Resident Card”, and it has my “Alien Registration Number” on it. And, thanks to FDR, I’m obliged to carry it with me at all times, including when I’m strolling in the woods behind my pad here in New Hampshire. If I were to be employed by anyone, they wouldn’t generally ask for my Alien Registration Number, but they’d insist on my Social Security or Taxpayer Identification Number. Because in the land of the free it’s increasingly illegal for one person to write a check to another for all but the most footling sums without taking the requisite government numbers for the W8s and 1099s and all the rest.

So is Mitt proposing yet another stupid card and pointless official number from the Republic of Paperwork? And, if so, why would that database be any less liable to abuse and corruption than Social Security and drivers’ licenses have proved?

I’m not part of the problem, so why do I need to be part of Mitt’s solution? I’d wager that, as with all the other bureaucratic barnacles encrusted to America’s rusting hulk since 9/11, this latest card – like the eyeball scans and fingerprinting – will be used by a lazy and inept immigration bureaucracy to torment and harass legal immigrants, while those outside the system get on with their lives unimpeded. And no doubt some obliging judge will rule that it’s illegal for employers to demand to see the new card.

Between federal and state numbers, I have more official numbers from the United States than from any other country I’ve ever lived in. Why do I need another one?

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