Two U.S. senators met with President Obama on Thursday to push for a national ID card with biometric information such as a fingerprint, hand scan, or iris scan that all employers would be required to verify.
In an opinion article published in Friday's edition of the Washington Post, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) say the new identification cards will "ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs" and "dramatically decrease illegal immigration."
Schumer and Graham pitched the idea to President Obama during a private meeting Thursday at the White House. Graham said afterward that Obama "welcomed" their proposal for a new ID card law; the White House said in a statement that the senators' plan was "promising."
Linking national ID cards to immigration reform is a popular idea in Washington political circles. After all, if every U.S. citizen has a biometric-equipped cards, the thinking goes, it's easy to order employers not to give a job to someone without one.
Under the Schumer-Graham proposal, extracting biometric information from hundreds of millions of Americans is no trivial task. It could mean extraordinary lines at regional Social Security offices--and an inconvenience for Americans switching jobs who haven't had their retina or DNA scanned in and stored on the ID card.
"Our framework remains a work in progress," Graham said in a statement after Thursday's meeting. "The president welcomed the framework and indicated that he needs time to review the structure. We will share our ideas with our colleagues in the weeks ahead, so we can finally solve this difficult problem."