Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards (ID Cards)

To crack down on illegal immigrants

Illegal immigration and asylum seeking are currently "hot topics", especially in certain sections of the tabloid press. It is therefore little surprise that the Government should turn to this issue in order to attempt to win public support for compulsory National Identity Cards.

ID cards will not deter illegal immigrants, they will still come. Nor will ID Cards allow illegal immigrants to be deported more easily. By definition people in the country illegally will not apply for the cards and will avoid places where these cards need to be shown.

Most illegal immigrants currently work at the fringes of legality, where pay is in cash, no questions asked. Such employers are unlikely to start demanding to see Identity Cards. If they do then many illegal immigrants will have no choice but to turn to crime to survive. Thus compulsory National Identity Cards could actually raise the crime rate.

David Blunkett made it very clear that police will not have the ability to stop people in the street and demand their ID Card. That's a good thing, but it does rather defeat the idea of using the cards to detect illegal immigrants. When pressed on this the Government talks about the police still having the power to arrest anyone they suspect of committing an offence. True. However most illegal immigrants don't go around calling attention to themselves by committing crimes in view of police officers. In fact they try very hard to be inconspicuous.

So how are ID Cards going to help catch them?

The Government seems unable or unwilling to answer that question directly. However he has hinted at one possibility. Even though the police won't be able to demand your ID Card, perhaps they would be able to pull you over and subject you to an on-the-spot iris scan to check you with the national database. You can bet that even if you're innocent a record will still be made of the time and place at which you were scanned. You can also bet that people who "look foreign" will be checked more often than most.

Compulsory iris scanning - "stop and scan" - is still just supposition. If true then I personally find it even more scary than being forced to carry the card.

UK ID Cards - Introduction

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