May 24 6:49 PM US/Eastern
By SARA KUGLER Associated Press Writer
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
In an editorial for The Wall Street Journal and two nationally televised interviews, the mayor reiterated his long-standing belief that the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States should be given the opportunity for citizenship, saying that deporting them is impossible and would devastate the economy.
Aides said that the editorial was his idea and that CNN and Fox News approached him to discuss his views on the air.
In the article and on air, Bloomberg slammed lawmakers who want to deport all illegal immigrants, saying on Fox News that "they are living in a fantasy world."
Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens' privacy and was not a civil liberties issue.
"You don't have to work _ but if you want to work for a company you have to have a Social Security card," he said. "The difference is, in the day and age when everybody's got a PC on their desk with Photoshop that can replicate anything, it's become a joke."
The mayor said DNA and fingerprint technology could be used to create a worker ID database that will "uniquely identify the person" applying for a job, ensuring that cards are not illegally transferred or forged.
Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said a DNA or fingerprint database "doesn't sound like the free society we think we're living in."
"It will inevitably be used not just by employers but by law enforcement, government agencies, schools and all over the private sector," she said.
I can understand where Mayor Bloomburg is coming from, but I have to say that I agree with Donna Lieberman. The implications of this are downright scary.