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Congress Debating "No-Work" Database

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the try-getting-off-that-list dept.

United States 438

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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Across the border... (5, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Across the border... (5, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Across the border... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234383)

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.

Re:Across the border... (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Get mo' Gitmo! (2)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234473)

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 off compared to the born and raised guys... Try getting a Delta Minus to work overtime... then offer that to an illegal. I've watched those guys pull 7 day work weeks for long stretches of time. Cheaper, and often (not always) the same if not better labor? No profit loving company would EVER pass up on that... especially with the government knowingly allowing it to happen.

Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234869)

Quiting a job because of a nasty boss would probably rank #1 cause for getting on that list.

Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (2, Interesting)

ElBeano (570883) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234905)

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.

Re:Get mo' Gitmo! (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234625)

Sounds like the real purpose of the bill is something else then.

The last box to vote with ... (4, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Across the border... (0, Troll)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234603)

Hmm... let's see... cheap labour, meaning cheap production, meaning lower imports, meaning more money generated in the country, meaning higher exports, meaning better trade balance...

I wouldn't hold my breath for that happening.

Re:Across the border... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234505)

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Re:Across the border... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234529)

Am I supposed to "get it"? *confused*

Re:Across the border... (2, Insightful)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234685)

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 people will do it for.

Also, the excuse used is cost, but I don't think that it would increase that much by using legal people and paying them min wage if they could get them.

Re:Across the border... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234727)

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.

Re:Across the border... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234939)

It's not that I wouldn't go and build houses, it's that I won't do it for the pennies that the illegals do it for. The problem is employers won't pay a fair wage for jobs like that cause they get away with paying very little to the aliens. Of course, if they did not, their price would go up and they couldn't compete with "jobs'r'us" down the street.

Re:Across the border... (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Across the border... (3, Insightful)

ronadams (987516) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234633)

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 doesn't change the fact that they're here, not paying taxes, drawing their benefits off of your paycheck. The usual claim is that these illegals would really like to become citizens, but the system is too inefficient, difficult, unreasonable, etc. to allow it. Tell me, if you could have nearly all the benefits of being an American citizen without paying taxes, would becoming a tax-paying citizen be your first priority? For this reason and more, I really hope something like a "no-work" database will be instituted, and not quietly murdered in a back alley in D.C. because of the many potential complications involved. It is high time for all of us to defend the infrastructure of this nation; it's strained, nearly broken back can not hold all this weight forever.

Re:Across the border... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234773)

Or congress could just change the current tax code so that pay stubs had to show 'employer contributions' to FICA. I'm pretty sure the accountant that decided that employer contributions were different than employee contributions was a bigger asshole than any lawyer ever.

A pre/rebated sales tax is a nice idea, but I'm not real convinced that the problems that come with a consumptive tax(black markets, massive incentive to make(and hide) purchases elsewhere) are really an improvement over the current situation. It also favors the people with the most, most highly disposable income, which is the rich(that is, people who already don't care about money get to care even less, as their yearly 'account surplus' grows faster under such a system).

As it is, the Fair Tax is more than hopeless, time would be better spent agitating for simplifying and adding transparency to the current tax code.

Re:Across the border... (1)

melstav (174456) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234811)

And everyone always gets wrong WHY they're cheaper: payroll taxes.


Abso-freakin'-lutely.

My wife and I run a small business in addition to our day jobs. We have one full-time employee.

Between his state and federal withholdings and all of the taxes that are levied against us, the employer, for every $1.00 net that I write his paycheck for, I have to send almost $0.50 to one government agency or another.

Payroll taxes suck ass.

FairTax? (1)

BamZyth (940235) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234815)

FairTax sounds great, but can someone explain to me where the money will come from
if everybody ends up paying less taxes? (that`s what I understand from fairtax.org)

Re:Across the border... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234825)

The quality argument has less to do with unions per se, and more with the state of competition. North of the Mason Dixon, and in some other locations, the unions have a lock on construction work. In some trades, there ARE no non-union shops. If a GC tries to contract with a non-union shop for part of the work, the other union trades (remember, they are guaranteed to be on site, do to teh aforementioned lock on some trades) will ensure that "bad things" happen on the project, ranging from slow work, sabotage, to violence and intimidation.

South of the Mason Dixon, there are no trades where the unions have a lock. Since the unions can't compete on labor cost, they compete on quality. And they are reasonably successful - if there is a tight schedule, a GC can't afford NOT to take the subcontractor that will do it right the first time.

In other areas, were there is little union presence at all (say, landscaping and drywall)there is only competition on cost, and quality is abyssmal.

Life Liberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234315)

So much for that silly "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" concept.

Re:Life Liberty (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234335)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door

Re:Life Liberty (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234379)

My ancestors came here via Ellis Island, legally. The statue of liberty was speaking to those people. There's a good reason it doesn't say, "legal or not, y'all come on over!"

Re:Life Liberty (5, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234575)

My ancestors came here via Ellis Island, legally.

I'm sure all Native Americans would agree that European settlement in the US was always done by the book, right?

I cannot condemn a person for breaking a law that I, in their position, would break myself. This country was founded by those who believed that unjust law was no law at all. "It's the law" is a empty position if you cannot justify the law itself.

Re:Life Liberty (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234893)

I'm sure all Native Americans would agree that European settlement in the US was always done by the book, right?

By the book of the day it was. But that's kinda not part of this debate is it?

I cannot condemn a person for breaking a law that I, in their position, would break myself.

I may not condemn them but I don't condone them either.

"It's the law" is a empty position if you cannot justify the law itself.

I think of all sorts of reasons to justify why illegal immigration is bad. It strains our social infrastructure, our health care infrastructure and our law enforcement agencies. It creates an entire class of people that depend on the services of the nation but don't contribute toward those services (taxes). It creates an entire class of people that can be exploited by businesses and criminals alike with no protection from either.

It's also blatantly unfair to those who decided to come here legally. A Canadian friend of mine has been waiting to come here for months. She has going through a paperwork nightmare from hell to get her green card. This is in spite of the fact that she has a masters degree and speaks three languages. We make her wait even though she is well educated, has family and a job waiting for her but we are willing to give amnesty to those that break our laws? What kind of message does that send?

This is the one issue that you would find agreement on across most sections of the political spectrum. Ask the common man on the street if this is a problem that needs to stop and he will say yes. It doesn't matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. Unfortunately our political leaders have failed us miserably on this issue. The Republicans are owned by big business that likes cheap labor and the Democrats are owned by the PC crowd that feels bad for them and is afraid of being labeled racists. Both parties want the Hispanic vote.

Re:Life Liberty (1)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234593)

I don't see the word legal anywhere in parent. Could it be that...she doesn't care?

Re:Life Liberty (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234587)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your coyotes, filled with illegal Mestizos,
All yearning to earn American greenbacks.
Send these, the migrant workers, to work for me,
So long as they don't get shot while crossing.

Re:Life Liberty (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234351)

So much for that silly "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" concept.



Huh ? Did you find that in some outdated g******d piece of paper or what ?

Re:Life Liberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234407)

goatherd?

This is the internet. We can handle grownup words.

And They'll Start With... (4, Funny)

imikem (767509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234341)

...a list of 535 people who do no work.

Re:And They'll Start With... (1)

The Woodworker (723841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234623)

535 who do no work....

OK, I give up. Which government office are you referring to?

Re:And They'll Start With... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234651)

OK, I give up. Which government office are you referring to?


The U.S. Congress = 435 Representatives + 100 Senators

Re:And They'll Start With... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234931)

Now that's completely unfair.

I have many colleagues who know enough about their limitations to know that they're better off not doing anything at all than "trying" and screwing things up, creating more work for the rest of us. The problem is none of them are in our government's legislatures or executives.

Re:And They'll Start With... (0, Redundant)

chaidawg (170956) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234677)

435 Congressmen + 100 Senators

Re:And They'll Start With... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234631)

If only they didn't, man, if only they didn't.

Land of the Free, Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234349)

So, essentially, if the gubermint don't approve of you, you get to starve?

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234385)

Yes lets get rid of immigration policy and let anyone go to America. I'm sure it won't become overpopulated. Nope. That's crazy talk. Next you'll be saying global warming actually exists.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234387)

So, essentially, if the gubermint don't approve of you, you get to starve?

As much as I abhor illegal immigration, I might be more likely to hire someone who fails the database. Just pay cash, off the books. The guy might have a family, and I couldn't be an instrument of punishing them, honestly.

-b.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234435)

And if you are caught then it's your family who is punished....either way someone is screwed.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (4, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234467)

And if you are caught then it's your family who is punished....either way someone is screwed.

This didn't stop the Catholic part of my family from hiding Jews from the Nazis during WW II. And the stakes for that were much higher -- probably shot to death or sent to a camp along with your family if you got caught.

Stupid laws should be broken. Just try hard not to get caught.

-b.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234539)

I don't see how don't hire people who came to this country illegally as a dumb law....

Legal immigration = good
Illegal immigration = bad


An in-law of mine came from a country torn by war and genocide (and lost immediate family to the war), they got here through the legal process. They have a job, pay full taxes, etc.

It's the illegal ones that I have issues with.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234565)

I don't see how don't hire people who came to this country illegally as a dumb law...

First of all, this database could be used to punish LEGAL workers as well -- add false information? Don't like it? Ok, you can appeal, but you'll have to wait 6 months without a job in the meantime. As far as illegal immigration -- the guy (or girl) is in the US already. Do we visit the sins of the father upon the wife or children by not allowing him to work and make money?

-b.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234675)

Do we visit the sins of the father upon the wife or children by not allowing him to work and make money?

if you are catholic you believe in sins of the father...dumb joke back on topic

Well I think we aren't all on the same page here. The DB itself is a dumbass idea I agree. But the DB != illegal immigration problem.

There is no answer to this issue which will make anyone happy. On one side you can say well kids born here are citizens and you don't want to separate families. True. On the other hand the law was broken and we just can't let people get away with that BECAUSE it will only encourage more illegals. And then 5 - 10 years from now the exact same situation again and going through this same argument on Slashdot.

If nothing is down wages will continue to be driven next to nothing for low skilled jobs (if one illegal will work for $2/hr I bet I can find one for $1.95/hr, etc, etc), much more burdens on hospitals, schools, etc, and everyone will have a bad taste in their mouth.

Again I have family that went through he legal way leaving from a situation that makes Mexico look like Disney land so the legal way does work.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234711)

On the other hand the law was broken and we just can't let people get away with that BECAUSE it will only encourage more illegals.

I have no problem with checking documents/passports/visas at the borders, along with strict physical border security. Basically, we should have a free country with a strong perimeter around it. Yes: some "leakage" will invariably occur, but it can certainly be minimized.

-b.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (2, Funny)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234761)

Which I agree with. Wow a thread ending in agreement on Slashdot with no insults thrown. Is this really Slashdot?

*shudder*

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234423)

Ummm no.

You enter this country illegally, pay little or no taxes, obtain low cost or free health care services you theoretically get put on some "list".

Personally, I don't mind immigration. However, I do have a problem with illegal immigration.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234475)

"free health care services" I suggest you go see the lastest film of Michael Moore http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicko [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234545)

Yea Mr Objective Ballanced Truthfull Michael Moore. Now theres one guy who is 100% honest and would never ever misrepresent anything right.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234581)

Not sure what the GP was referring to but...

In Texas and other states near Mexico a lot of hospitals have been shut down due to costs incurred from treating illegal immigrants. A hospital may not turn away someone who is at deaths door. They must at min. stabilize the person.

Now when the person can't/won't pay the hospital eats the cost (they may raise their rates but then people will go else where).

I'm in no way saying let a person die but at the same time what is the cost to the rest of society has hospitals and such close?

We could expand this further by looking at schools where the kids of illegal immigrants come in but the parents aren't paying taxes to support the schools. Etc. Etc.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234613)

Low cost or free . . . which could also be translated as "low cost or bills not being paid". Nothing is ever really free. Someone has to pay for it.

Do we really need to open the debate about the strain illegal immigration puts on the US health care system?

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234493)

erm, well, yeah, if you can't earn money, you don't pay tax. If, when you do earn money, your employer can't record it properly because you exist illegally, you don't pay tax. This leaves two options: illegal immigrants not allowed to earn or illegal immigrants need to be unillegalised if they're earning. Seeing as, in order to eat, they need to work, the ONLY available (humane) option (if you want to collect taxes, which governments do) is to let them work.
If someone is earning and contributing to society, why would you NOT want them to work and continue to do so?
The United States is NOT short of space - there's no good reason why people who will contribute to society should not be allowed to immigrate and do so.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234665)

Like I said, I'm all for legal immigration. Enter the US legally, contribute to society via working, paying taxes, or whatever. That's fine. I'm not denying the huge impact the immigrant workforce has on the US economy at all. I'm also not saying that people should be denied opportunities to better themselves either.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234653)

So make it legal. Problem solved. That's why we have a Congress -- to change the laws. Mexicans have been crossing the US border since there was one. We don't need laws about who can live where.

Tax evasion is a serious crime regardless of your residency status or nationality. I certainly support the prosecution of those who make wages without paying taxes. I don't see why I would care where they were born.

Re:Land of the Free, Indeed (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234509)

Sounds like it.

The amount of abuse this database would be open to... urgh. Off the top of my head:

1. Government departments hire a lot of people who have write access to these databases.
2. It is SOP that a record added to the database is not automatically brought to the attention of someone else to check.
3. It is also common for the procedures to get off the database are substantially more complicated than the procedures to get on it.
4. The people mentioned in 1. above are humans. They're corruptible, they have emotions.
5. So, all I need to do to really screw you over is bribe such a person to add your name to the "do not work" list. It may not affect you now, but in 6 months/a year/5 years time...

At least when you're issued papers, they generally suffice and it's pretty hard for someone to take them off you.

I'm sure others can come up with more imaginative abuses of the system.

So what's going to be worse? (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234365)

The false negatives, in which valid people are denied the oh-so-exciting opportunity of working for the DHS (cough, cough) or the false positives, in which lazy bums are given cushy jobs at said department because of, say, political allegiances?
 
What is the link between employment and national security anyway?

Re:So what's going to be worse? (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234541)

The false negatives, in which valid people are denied the oh-so-exciting opportunity of working for the DHS (cough, cough) or the false positives, in which lazy bums are given cushy jobs at said department because of, say, political allegiances?
You either misread or didn't read the story; this isn't about a database for working AT the DHS, this is about a database of eligible workers maintained BY the DHS.

Well that's neat.... (5, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Well that's neat.... (2, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234443)

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 documents and stolen SS numbers? It's not like employers (especially small ones) have the time nor desire to check IDs and determine whether they're real or not.

AFAIK, I don't think any employer has asked my for a driver's license or passport anyway for my I-9 -- they just said fill it out with your SS#, etc and trusted me not to be illegal.

-b.

Re:Well that's neat.... (5, Interesting)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234447)

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.

Re:Well that's neat.... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234449)

"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)

Re:Well that's neat.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234679)

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?

Re:Well that's neat.... (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234717)

As someone that is married to a Naturalized US Citizen, I am for legal immigration (otherwise I'd be having sex alone). However, illegal immigrants are not the same as legal immigrants as far as skill and productivity are concerned.

Check out http://www.heritage.org/research/immigration/uploa d/SR_14.pdf [heritage.org] for one side of the story.

Secondly, the Stasiland example is what happens when government is given (or illegally takes) too much power.

Re:Well that's neat.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234723)

If a ban on American immigration had been implemented 200 years ago maybe there would never have been the genocide of the Indians?

Re:Well that's neat.... (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234689)

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 public opinion yelling against immigration, but the fact is, the ones that benefit the most from illegally hiring immigrants are the supporters of those parties, I mean corporations. It's not that they hire them directly, but they outsource to small companies employing people with low wages, no labor rights and that can be deported at any time if they become "inconvenient". And, let's face it, they do the dirty jobs that European or American citizens don't want to do.

One thing makes me shiver, if our rulers are so incompetent to stop illegal immigration and (apparently) can't find and punish the companies that break the law by hiring illegal immigrants, how are we supposed to believe they will be more competent at stopping terrorists from entering our countries and do whatever they please? Why is it that this "war on terror" sounds like bullshit to me?

Next up.... (3, Funny)

woolio (927141) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234369)

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.

Oh Lovely! (1)

jfade (1096961) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234373)

Just what we need! Another list that people can mistakenly get put on for no particular reason other than having done nothing wrong.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234375)

where the hell has this idea that a government's roll includes compiling lists of people that their citizens are not to do business with come from?

Several of these already exist (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Several of these already exist (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234445)

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!

Buying our house (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234491)

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 escrow guys were great, holding on to the cash necessary to pay off the loan and guaranteeing that we'd get the title by a certain date. When buying a house, most people think the money going to the escrow folks is just for show, but in this case they really earned their keep.

It's funny that it required them to check odd name variations to find out the house wasn't really his to sell. If everyone had unique numbers and judgments and such were recorded under those numbers, it would be far more difficult to hide from your responsibilities.

Re:Several of these already exist (1)

supersnail (106701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234515)

" 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.

Re:Several of these already exist (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234661)

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?

Re:Several of these already exist (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234715)

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 names (like "maria josé da silva". more than 8 thousand registered voters with that name in sao paulo city alone) are concerned.

granted, it's kinda abused by employers as a sort of "no-employ" list. a friend o'mine was denied at least one job, that i know of, because his CPF number was listed in a credit protection agency. but i still think the benefits of having this unique number outweights the drawbacks.

Use microsofts SQL server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234409)

It never works!!!

A good thing! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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:A good thing! (2, Insightful)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234641)

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.

Other uses of this list (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234477)

  • 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.

Re:Other uses of this list (1)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234519)

versus stopping because it's, frankly, shit?

Re:Other uses of this list (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234705)

To the NSA, it's a no-spy list...

Re:Other uses of this list (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234803)

and to your friendly neighborhood dope dealer its a no fly list

oh, i see...

Love of freedom? (5, Insightful)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Love of freedom? (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234853)

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

Slowly but surely... (3, Insightful)

kevinadi (191992) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Yea, that is gonna work out well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234531)

Look at how well everyone benefits from the present system of looking at a persons criminal record.

The people who have 'paid their debt to society' for their past actions are able to become productive, well paid members of that society.

Mike Millkin, Gary North, G. Gordon Liddy - all make more money than you.

Civilization (-1, Offtopic)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234547)

As a long time Civ player I've always wondered just why do we have so much interest in the Middle East? After all, shouldn't the American tribe concentrate on conquering their own island first before going about trying to take over the rest of the world? Sure I understand about aiming for a cultural win and never have been shy about bribing foreign powers to do my bidding but you would almost think that the American Chiefs have some deep down loathing of Aztec descendents or something.

eventually... (2, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234559)

...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.

Sounds like a great way.... (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234571)

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.

Does anyone see the parallels? (4, Interesting)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234579)

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.

Re:Does anyone see the parallels? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234611)

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:Does anyone see the parallels? (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234903)

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 senile ex-wrestlers who never amounted to anything outside of the ring from running your military.

How Lazy can we get (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234615)

How is looking up someone in a database, run by the government, going to stop employers from hiring an illegal immigrant? If the employer actually cares then they will be doing enough background check to have a reasonable sense of the prospective's legal status. An employer who wants low cost help will not check, because they know enforcement is minimal and repercussions light.

Instead of a database (which would take some time to establish and most likely be full of data holes) how about immigration officers doing the leg work and visit employers that are suspected of illegal hiring practices. How about fining or arresting employers that hire illegal immigrants, by actually investigating how they hire and who they hire.

I am not a fan of illegal immigrants. To break the first law (illegal entry) indicates to me they have less respect for the countries rule of law and care first only for themselves. An illegal immigrant continues to turn a blind eye to other laws and regulations (driving, insurance, housing) as they continue to live outside the law. They could be good decent people, but they are living a lie. In doing so they mock the principle of what our country stands for in democracy, law, and justice. In one recent news piece the husband/father remarked how it would be cruel to send him back and leave his family. Yet, was it not as cruel to place his family (the wife is illegal as well) in jeopardy with the law?

However, it is the employers in this country that provide the foundation for continued growth of people crossing the border without permission. Like the brainless war on drugs, going after the addict does nothing to stop more addicts getting into the system, yet we lock up pot smokers while the supply chain remains. it would be wonderful if the various branches of this comatose government worked together to research, investigate, arrest, and prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants instead of building some lackluster database that does nothing more then mess up people's lives who fall through the chasms in the data. We will spend billions in building a fence, but will not spend the same billions building investigative teams that reduce the incentive for illegal immigration...employment.

Truly I hear faint fiddling behind the sound of pompous blowhards chewing on grapes while spewing innocuous mandates like "build a database", "we will have victory", or "it will make you feel safer". Same tune, different fiddler.

Off the books (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234693)

Hey, I wonder if this sort of thing will actually hurt the illegal immigrant workforce, as these blacklisted folks will be competing for the same level jobs?

You have to change the incentives (1)

vrimj (750402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234699)

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.

Damned if they do and damned if they dont (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234725)

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.

Re:Damned if they do and damned if they dont (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234849)

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 to the appropriate authorities. They should be able to check who's legal and who's not, and they shouldn't need to fear discrimination lawsuits (since they're not the ones doing the hiring).

My predictions on how this will end up (1)

itpr15061 (844859) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234845)

Call me a pessimist, call me practical, call me jaded. Here's what I think will happen: * Much wrangling will be had over where the data is going to come from * The project will be over budget by at least twice the original estimate * The database will be hacked within the first year, but the government won't detect it until much later And my biggest prediction: * Congress will wonder why there just aren't that many people using it This database totally ignores that many companies want illegal workers because they are cheap. Having a database isn't going to stem the demand.

Don't you already have a able to work list? (1)

SillyMe (60216) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234857)

As a non-american, I must question why you would need this? Don't you already have an entire system setup to limit who can legally work? I seem to recall that there were SSNs in the american world. If an employee does not have a social security number, are they entitled to work? How does creating a second database of people -- those who most likely do not have an SSN -- fix the issue of employers employing those who are not supposed to be employed? Is this a late April Fools Joke?

Yeah, but what's the point (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234883)

if you give work visas to just about anybody who asks?
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