Documenting America

January 27th, 2007 by xformed

In this post, I talked about our propensity to commit “overkill,” specifically in regards to the current issue of the Immigration debate.

Several things have come to mind in for this idea of only the “legal” guest workers will have the card that defines them as a legitimate hiring candidate, so how does an American get a job when the “system” is put in place?

My ideas on how to “fix” the problem we face:

  • Why not make the “entry point” to a job the holding of a Social Security Number? No, I’m not in the way back machine, but don’t we already have a master directory of people? Yep, we sure do. I’d suggest, rather than build an entire parallel system, to upgrade the SSA systems to allow internet access for employers to validate the potential employees. I’d further comment you shouldn’t need a measure requiring the collection of physical data of the person. It should be pretty obvious, if a Hispanic person, who claims to be Jose, has given you an SSN in your office in Topeka, KS, that says it belong to Peggy Martin of San Antonio, TX, that something is amiss. This method may not keep every illegal out, but I suspect it will catch a large number of them, who are relying on stolen SSNs to get buy.
  • I’m sure there’s a lot to be hammered out in the drafting of the “guest worker” sweepstakes, but the comments by the President indicate there will be no excuses for employers who hire illegals, because the Government will have this new system to let them know someone is illegal. Remember I’m not a lawyer, but I did have to get involved with the military justice system for one of my duties. I believe it is a better approach to not say “We’ll hammer you if you have employed illegals,” but “We’ll hammer you if you KNOWINGLY hired illegals.” The premise of this hinges on the comment about and having a beefed up Social Security system to help employers screen out illegals. Now, if an illegal gets through your doors, as an employer, based on falsified papers, then I wouldn’t see that as an actionable crime. If you let them through, knowing they were illegal, then it’s hammer time. This allows us “undocumented Americans” to still be employable, as the employer will only be at risk, if they are criminally involved in hiring the wrong people. That takes the pressure off of them to not hire anyone, unless they can positively determine the validity of someone’s presence at their hiring desk.

Now, on to technical issues about a new and special system to track “guest workers:”

  • My biggest concern is the availability of the information in the centralized database at a national level. I hate to say it, but, as was discovered a few years back (and most likely had been going on for years), some IRS employees felt they could access tax returns for celebrities and neighbors….they found out the hard way, their limit of viewing authority was only to those files they were assigned. That is but one story of people with access to data. Not that it’s malicious, but, some of it is. How will you feel when you retinal scans and fingerprints data are “up there?” It’s not that you shouldn’t trust the Government, it’s that you should fear the few individuals who, decide, on their own, to get into the system for other purposes. Just recently, one of the local state DMV employees here was selling driver’s licenses to illegals. Not always do these people do it for political gain., sometimes they do it for the money (either greed, or just because they have lots of debt). So…I don’t think one more centralized database is in the interest of basic privacy rights.
  • Not only have I written some complex software, I had a position where I supervised the project managers for some pretty large government software projects, both for new production, and also for maintenance of existing programs. In the process of making the organizations more effective, we studied such things at the Carnegie-Mellon Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM). we found out, on the road to our own certification, that only about 50% of software projects see the light of day. It’s a nasty little secret in both government and private industry realms. In other words, lots of money and labor hours disappear down the into the black hole. The VA knows about that, as do many other agencies. So, rather than expand an existing system (which, will be prone to problems, but at least has a process to build on), the proposed plan by the President would risk lots of more money. Not saying it wouldn’t be successful, but…it’s only a 50% shot it will be. On top of that, it still would take years to ge in place, so that every large, medium and small business would be able to make sure they didn’t risk going to jail or bankruptcy.
  • And the last technical hurdle is a modification of the one two paragraphs above, but different: The “HEY! Guess what we can use this databas to find out?” syndrome. Some two years ago, I blogged about the data ports in our cars, and how they became useful beyond the shop where they see why your gas mileage is much lower than it should be. My same concern applies here. Put something in place, and well meaning people, and some not so well meaning, will consider if they haven’t been told there is something they cannot do with a database, well, then it must be OK……

There is a problem with illegal workers within our borders. It needs to be solved. I think there is a better way, than putting laws into place that will make employers skittish about hiring normal US citizen, and trying to put in place a large, centralized system, when we may already have something in place and able to be modified to help get us beyond the current state of immigration issues.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 27th, 2007 at 4:54 pm and is filed under Political, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 response about “Documenting America”

  1. A Stake Through the Heart of JFK - The Coming Immigration Legislation - - It’s not random, it’s CHAOS! said:

    […] more I will bring up the need for all of us, born or legally documented citizens to soon have the same bi… the “illegals” will have. In the risk adverse society we have been indoctrinated into […]

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