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Groups Slam Senate Immigration Plan for Privacy Violations

'Enforcement first, green cards second' roadmap leads to discrimination and 'undermines privacy of all Americans'

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Recent polls show that the majority of Americans support fair immigration reform. (Photo: Shell Photographics/SEIU Int'l via Flickr)

Civil liberties organizations are raising flags about the proposed immigration reform framework being unveiled on Monday by a bipartisan Senate working group saying that the plan includes provisions that endanger personal freedoms for all US citizens. 

The purported "tough but fair path to citizenship” mandates the increased use of employment verification systems, which is causing alarm considering the notoriously error-prone record (.pdf) of the current E-Verify system. 

“The outline’s call for employers to be mandated to use E-Verify, an expensive electronic employment-verification system, is a thinly-disguised national ID requirement that undermines the privacy of every American worker while imposing new burdens on businesses. Mandatory E-Verify would not only lead to discrimination against those who look or sound “foreign,” but also increase the risk of identity theft and make it harder to get a job,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU.

Critics also point out the system's record of frequent false-positives "that can cost Americans and legal permanent residents their jobs."


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“The...plan is the beginning, not the end, of the discussion on immigration reform,” said ACLU legislative counsel Joanne Lin. She added, “We urge the passage of a roadmap that is just, humane and fair."

The Huffington Post outlines some of the other key components of the proposed "enforcement force, green cards second" reform framework, which includes the increased use of surveillance drones as part of enhanced border security.

The bipartisan Senate working group—which includes: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-Co.) Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), John McCain (R-Az.) and Jeff Flake (R-Az.)—will reveal the details of their plan at a press conference Monday afternoon. 

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