2006/06/04

American Untouchables - The Federal "No-work" List

Usually I'm loathe to blog on a topic twice, but this issue is too important to ignore. As part of imigration reform, the Feds are about to put in place an employment verification system that, if abused, could turn any American into an untouchable unable to find gainful employment in the United States.

An integral part of both immigration reform bills is a national employment eligibility database against which all applicants would be checked. Most likely this will be an extension of Basic Pilot program already in limited use. In addition, the draft House legislation contains increased penalties for violations, a deterrent to employers failing to use whatever system The Feds put in place.

Privacy advocates are calling this an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of Americans and rightly point out that such a system could be used to perpetrate identity theft since it will coordinate existing databases with social-security numbers. Unfortunately this is not the biggest problem with such a system. Much more serious, and more lightly reported in the MSM, is the following:

Such a system would give the government sole discretion over one's employability
.

Stated more simply, you'll have to have the government's permission in order to make a living, and if that doesn't scare you consider the following: No standards of accountability or accuracy have been defined for this system. So, like the TSA's "No-fly list," once you're on it there is no defined procedure for getting yourself removed. And to make matters worse, with increased penalties for hiring illegals, employers won't question the answers they get from the Feds. They'll simply deny you employment and forget about you.

As for abuse, the situation's a no-brainer. Imagine some partisan functionary deciding to take out everyone on their "enemies" list. Get these poor schmucks into the Federal "no-work" database, and suddenly they're outcasts with no way to feed themselves, much less their families. At that point the only option open to these American Untouchables is emigration--the perfect solution for the politically connected hatchet-man.

Sadly, "You'll never work again in this town..." is about to take on a sinister new meaning.

10 Comments:

We become more and more like East Germany was back when there was an East Germany . . . .
scary times...Blog on this all you need to Kvatch...we are reliving a bygone era....NB got it right.
Britain has a similar system. A few thousand were rendered unemployable recently when they were mistakenly put on the no list.
Seems its easy to grab bunches of same surnames and drop them in the out basket accidently.
It would seem that no freedom is too sacred for which the Feds would not find reason to trespass upon.
I really think that all of the other abuses of the Constitution pale before this one. Once the government takes control of one's ability to obtain employment, this country becomes no better than a third-rate banana republic.
Will they stop at nothing?
The Right to Work,
The Right to a Living Wage
We'll never see either untill we break the back of Washington's Corporate Lobbyists.

P.S. Did you see last nights 60 min?
Fred, is this really "the right to work"? Not in the traditional sense, I don't think. Perhaps it's more like the right not to have the government interfere with your employability. And the real problem, in my opinion, is the lack of accountability. This is what makes the system so ripe for abuse, and to address Sumo's point, I don't think that anybody has a "dire" motive here...yet. Nonetheless what's being done is egregious.

(PS. No cable...so no 60 Minutes. Sorry. What was the gist?)
Based on what we have seen happen over the past five plus years, I question everything they do because so far it's all been on shakey constitutional grounds, at best. So we'll have a black list of employees. When they come out with the goof proof ID's for people working in this counry from another country, we will all have to have them because otherwise it will be racial profiling.

Yes this does very much remind me of long ago nightmares in other countries. I used to be so sure that it couldn't happen here, now I'm not so sure and that scares me very much.
I tried several times to comment on this post yesterday and Blogger would freeze up. Grrr...I hope it works this time.

Anyway, this database is scary. Our government already awards no-bid contracts to "loyal" corporate interests, what's to stop them from blocking entire demographic groups of people (women, blacks, democrats, etc. )from working in certain industries - or working period?

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