Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Card-Carrying Immigrants

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 12:25 AM

 By: Jeremy  Alford 

Unauthorized immigrants could work in certain Louisiana industries if they obtain a special biometric card that contains their personal medical information and other data, according to a bill by Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville. ID cards, which can hold everything from fingerprints and photos to a range of digital documentation, are nothing new. Congress has considered the credit card-size IDs, and Britain will require them of U.S. students later this year. Harrison says he conceived the Louisiana program after seeing similar efforts in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He says the Louisiana program could be a roadblock to new and reemerging diseases. “We’ve already experienced a resurgence of tuberculosis from South America, and it has been a tremendous drain on our resources and medical community,” he says. “This proposed system would do a screening for diseases.” Harrison, who says he is still gathering support information for his House Bill 1097, adds that the screening process would seek other information so that “employers can feel confident about who they bring on and not have to worry about any fines.” While the state has yet to issue a fiscal note estimating the cost of the bill, Harrison says some of the expenses could be passed on to individuals or employers. He says that would be justified because the cards would reveal immigration status, where cardholders may work and how long they can stay in the U.S. His bill would allow unauthorized immigrants to work in the “planting and harvesting of agricultural, forestry or horticultural products; in the production or gathering of livestock, dairy, or poultry products; in the field of animal husbandry; or in the care, feeding, and training of horses.”  

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