Jonah, you make a good point, but one that, I’m afraid, will be lost on our political masters.
If we ever do get a mandatory national ID card, it will be one more bureaucratic imposition upon the already law-abiding, and entirely irrelevant to those whom it’s supposedly intended for. That’s to say, little old ladies will be required to show it when they go to check out a large-print library book or the Jessica Tandy double-bill at Blockbusters, but it will be utterly racist and discriminatory to ask a suspected illegal alien if he can produce one.
Look at that rigmarole they have at the airports now: You hand over your driver’s license and the TSA guy pores over it with a loupe, like a jeweler examining your diamonds for any surface blemishes or internal flaws. And, when he’s satisfied that there’s nothing suspicious about how the ink lies on the paper, he gets out his UV light to study the watermark on the license.
Yet there is no epidemic of fake driver’s licenses in America. There is an epidemic of authentic driver’s licenses issued to persons who are not entitled to them as a matter of policy by multiple jurisdictions for reasons of political sensitivity. On September 11th, the four guys who boarded the DC flight with Virginia ID had genuine Virginia ID not counterfeit Virginia ID. That’s the problem.
Any national ID card would be no different.