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There's a growing list of things to be concerned about if the immigration bill in anything close to its present form should become law. One feature that has been added to attract right wing votes is the militarization of the border between the US and Mexico. As part of that effort it appropriates billions of dollars to develop and implement all sorts of new security features.

US immigration deal envisages use of military surveillance at southern border

The US Congress is planning a dramatic expansion of surveillance measures along the border with Mexico including round-the-clock use of unmanned aerial drones and radar systems developed by the military in Afghanistan as part of the package of comprehensive immigration reform.

The immigration reform bill currently being debated in the US Senate sets aside up to $6bn over five years to pay for a massive injection of surveillance technology along the south-western border. That includes $1bn to develop a new fool-proof social security card and other proposals to expand federal access to databases storing biometric and photographic records on American citizens and undocumented immigrants alike.

It doesn't require much creativity to push the notion that undocumented migrants pose an alien threat close that that of the dreaded menace of terrorism. Once again the fear is being invoked to persuade Americans of the necessity of sitting by passively while their civil liberties and privacy are compromised just a little bit more. There is nothing here to guarantee that the use of these "innovations" will be confined to the southern side of the border. Let's take a look as the possibilities for the nifty all new and improved social security card.
The senate bill, S 744, allocates $1bn in the 2014 budget to develop "fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant social security cards". The bill does not specify how those criteria will be met, but experts in identity technology point out that in previous debates Congress has focused on the use of biometric data such as digital photos, fingerprints and iris scans.

Margaret Hu, a specialist in biometric digital surveillance at Duke university, said that the bill's ambition to create a fool-proof social security card posed dangers for the general public. "If it is used to create a universal and digitalised biometric database through the collection of digital photos, fingerprint or iris scans, this could be used as a cyber-surveillance tool that could significantly impact the lives of all Americans."

This would turn the once innocuous social security card into a national identity card and internal passport. It offers immense possibilities for collecting and storing personal data about all Americans.
The importation of military technology developed in the war zone is no coincidence: as the Obama administration continues to reduce troop numbers in Afghanistan, military contractors and arms manufacturers are increasingly looking for a new market to exploit, and the large sums Congress is considering pumping into border security provides an obvious alternative.

"We are at the tip of the iceberg here," said Mary Cummings, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "They don't have total coverage of the southern border with unmanned vehicles, but they could and I suspect they will. It's going to change the way that customs operates, though I don't think they realise that yet."  

The military industrial complex is a hungry critter that must be fed. They have already made a bundle off of militarizing the nation's police force. The remit of the greatly expanded border patrol would be expanded to cover all areas within 100 miles of national borders. That would cover the residence of two thirds of all Americans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Immigration bill, Military Spending bill, FTC... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, blueoasis, k9disc, leeleedee, Mr Robert

    ...related regulations regarding personal-private info, Big Pharma's actions across-the-board, Labor-related rights of employers, Upcoming trade legislation, Department of Homeland Securities' budgets, Municipal and state budgets across the land, General expenditures to provide security to Fortune 500 company heads via local law enforcement, telecom laws, education-related privacy, data-gathering by businesses on Main Street (and that's just a very small sampling of forces supporting the expansion of the surveillance state) ARE ALL MASSIVELY EXTENDING THE REACH OF OUR SURVEILLANCE STATE. The 1% wouldn't have it any other way! ("It's so hard to get good help these days!")

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:39:41 AM PDT

  •  Big Spending Republicans are Baaaaack!!! (0+ / 0-)

    oh, I understand and appreciate that the US government needs to be the engine to get us out of this Depression, just want a clean cut bumper sticker message. Let the GOP explain themselves.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:53:37 AM PDT

  •  Republicans LOVE the State. Government? Not so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    much. Citizens? Not so much...

    But the State needs everything it can get.

    Irony is not a strong enough word.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:58:17 AM PDT

  •  This Is Not New (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    The senate bill, S 744, allocates $1bn in the 2014 budget to develop "fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant social security cards".

    It was supposed to be part of the 1986 IRCA.

    'Comprehensive Immigration Reform', The Prequel

    The subject of illegal immigration may be complex, but the reason(s) why the 1986 IRCA failed, and why every attempt at 'comprehensive immigration reform' since 1986 has failed, and why any current legislation will fail, are pretty simple.

    1.) The federal government doesn't really want to do interior enforcement of immigration law. Walking into 7/11's and arresting illegal immigrants is generally bad for business on many levels.

    2.) Because the 'tamper proof ID' of the 1986 IRCA was never implemented, employers can never really effectively be prosecuted for hiring illegal immigrants.

    (A) Any person who, during any 12-month period, knowingly hires for employment at least 10 individuals with actual knowledge that the individuals are aliens described in subparagraph (B) shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
    (B) An alien described in this subparagraph is an alien who—
    (i) is an unauthorized alien (as defined in section 1324a (h)(3) of this title), and
    (ii) has been brought into the United States in violation of this subsection.
    3.) Employers can be sued by the EEOC if they make a wrong decision and don't hire somebody because the documentation present looks suspicious.

    4.) How do you prosecute an employer for knowingly, and with actual knowledge hiring an illegal immigrant, especially if that employee is working for a outsourcer and is not even really an employee of the company to begin with?

    5.) If you're an employer, and even if you are fined, why are you not going to look at the fines as simply a part of doing business given the fines are tiny given the profits?

    6.) If you're not going to prosecute the illegal immigrant for illegally entering the U.S. and maintaining an illegal presence in the U.S., i.e. breaking the law, how can you with any moral conviction prosecute the employer for doing the same thing?

    I have written it here before, I will write it here again. Illegal immigration is about power and money, lots of power, and lots of money.

    I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

    by superscalar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:13:20 PM PDT

    •  By The By (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      This is why much of the CA construction industry has gone to using 1099's.

      The employer doesn't have to provide an I9, the illegal immigrant doesn't have to fraudulently sign an I9, the employer doesn't have to worry about FICA, Workmen's Comp, Social Security, etc. ad nauseum, the illegal immigrant doesn't have to worry about these silly things either.

      Everybody in the pool, the water's great.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:31:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To what extent (0+ / 0-)

    would the increased surveillance be privatized: that is, carried out by private corporations at significantly greater cost?


  •  4th Amendment no longer valid in 100 mile zone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, blueoasis

    Remember also that it's been ruled that fourth amendment protections don't apply for "border searches" within 100 miles of the border. Now they have many many more agents and funding to carry out such searches. Live within 100 miles of the border or a coastline? You can be searched at will.

    How about the day they include all "ports of entry" such as international airports as part of the border? Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Then there won't be a single place DHS can't search you on a whim.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:49:57 PM PDT

  •  But...but...but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, blueoasis

    What about the fence companies...and then the ladder companies...and then the extension ladder companies?  My god, with all those drones, they'll go bankrupt.  

    Soon, some poor mole grubbing for dinner will be sensed and a hellfire missle will be launched.   And that will be added to the list of successes.  Prolly a terhrist, ya know...we got 'im!


    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:53:15 PM PDT

  •  This new creation to expand the Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Bryce in Seattle

    card further distort concepts in achieving convenient TIA strategies is the most frightening aspect of the proposals in what is increasingly inhumane and prejudicial behaviors toward immigrants.

    That includes $1bn to develop a new fool-proof social security card and other proposals to expand federal access to databases storing biometric and photographic records on American citizens and undocumented immigrants alike.
    This seems to me to vividly highlight the dark irony of most legislation and projects today in which the titles are either misleading or opposite of the results.

    Social security has become a major example of the fraudulent over-reaches of "austerity" since it contributes nothing toward the debt.  The transference of its use is disgustingly repugnant for multiple reasons.

    More matter, with less art. Hamlet, 2. 2

    by blueoasis on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 01:39:27 PM PDT

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