Some citizen ID cards are more equal than others

The Democrats and their fellow travelers have been terribly upset since its inception by the Patriot Act, which they see as an infringement of their civil liberties. In that context, one of their chief fears is that the federal government will impose a national ID requirement, which they believe will be used to target illegal immigrants. (This is a good example of that type of thinking.) The Left is also hostile to the idea of a requirement that voters present photo ID in the form of a driver’s license or State ID card, since they believe that poor people lack the mental equipment and minimal life skills to get those types of cards. (And with regard to Democrats’ deep belief that the disadvantaged, especially African Americans, are helpless dodos, did I mention that John Edwards believes that, without his Presidential intervention, all black men will end up dead or in jail?)

Given the Left’s incredible hostility to ID cards, it was with some amazement that I read this impassioned plea for ID cards from Tom Ammiano, one of San Francisco’s most extreme liberals (which sounds redundant, but even by SF standards he’s to the liberal side of liberal):

As a sanctuary city, San Francisco has a responsibility to address the issues facing our community when federal legislators fail to do so. While grandstanding and speeches filled with fear and hate dominate congressional debate, here on the local level we have to address the fallout from continued inaction.

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents. . . . This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans. . . .

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card. . . : safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. ….

In San Francisco, we do not live in the bubble that many like to say we do; rather, we are an international city with residents from every corner of this Earth. ….

And that is why San Francisco needs to issue a municipal ID card. ….

Our city cannot just stand by while our federal government takes no action to address the safety needs of our community here at home. ….

Clearly, Ammiano thinks a government can best protect its people by issuing them identification cards. He’s also absolutely certain that every citizen is fully capable of applying for and receiving one of those cards. Apparently in San Francisco there are no citizens so poor, felonious or handicapped by blackness (did you hear that, Silky Pony) that they’re unable to head over to City Hall or some equally convenient address to get cards that will help them step towards basic human rights. In other words, Ammiano’s believe in the ability of the poor to get cards, and his faith that the government will handle those cards appropriately, runs entirely counter to the Democratic/Left belief that the opposite is true.

Okay, I’m lying. You’ll notice that the above quotation is filled, just filled with ellipses. Everything that’s in there is exactly what Ammiano wrote. I just left out the real point of his argument, which is that he wants to issue identification cards to illegal aliens because, for reasons unclear to me (and these are reasons Ammiano never explains in his impassioned but entirely incoherent opinion piece), having those cards will protect these immigrants from crime. Let me flesh out a couple of those paragraphs as Ammiano actually wrote them:

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents, regardless of immigration status. This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans such as the homeless, the elderly, youths, transgender people and others who encounter barriers to accessing government-issued IDs. (But wait, I thought homeless, the elderly, youths and others intimidated by barriers couldn’t possibly be expected to get identification cards, and therefore such cards should never be required as a means to prevent voter fraud.) However, detractors have focused solely on immigrants as the recipients. (I haven’t objected to that fact. In an earlier post I did about Ammiano’s lame-brained proposal, I said I thought it was a wonderful thing for illegal aliens to storm government halls to identify themselves for the benefit of law enforcement agencies. I simply bemoaned the fact that it was entirely unlikely that immigration would take advantage of the fact that illegals were going to start going around carrying badges announcing “I’m illegal.”)

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card, regardless of immigration status: safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. (Nothing Ammiano has said here, and nothing he says later, explains to me why it’s easier to report a crime to the cops when you have an ID card than when you don’t.) This is compounded when these same community members lack the ID needed to access bank accounts. By keeping cash on their person and in their homes, they are further targets of crime. I am working with the treasurer’s office and look forward to collaborating with banks so that this card will be accepted to open bank accounts.

And so on and so forth. You can read the whole thing here, but I guarantee you won’t have any clearer understanding of this proposed law after you’ve read it than you do right now.

While Ammiano’s writing may be muddled, there an entirely deceptive line of thinking underlying all this that is clear as a bell: The Democrats/Left have about ID cards being unfair to immigrants and the poor, whether such cards are used for national security or to protect against voter fraud, are completely bogus. Democrats are happy to issue such cards if they believe it will be for their political advantage and they are confident that the intended recipients of these Democratic issued cards — immigrants, the poor, and the disadvantaged — will be able to obtain them with ease, unhindered by their “downtrodden” status.

UPDATE:  As I was writing this, I knew I’d seen, just a day or two ago, a wonderful post exposing all the fallacies in the Democratic argument opposing picture ID as a prerequisite for voting in order to prevent fraud.  I had an “aha” moment when I finally found it at Big Lizards.  Read BL’s post, and then, just for fun, read once again Ammiano’s incoherent explanation about why it’s great for all the dispossessed to get the San Francisco issued ID card.  When your brain stops spinning, go out and register Republican.  No matter how faulty Republicans can be, they’re still better than the alternative.

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s not the lack of an ID card that makes illegals vulnerable to crime and other exploitation. It’s the fact that they are illegal. Anything that perpetuates an illegal sub-class perpetuates the victimization of those people.

    It could be violent crime unreported or it could just be labor exploitation. Even legal immigrants in the Bay Area face exploitation due to not having English and not understanding what protections they are entitled to. I volunteered to teach English at my church when I lived there and met many a legal Vietnamese immigrant trapped in exploitive employment by needing to work for *Vietnamese* who could speak with them. My neighbor got in trouble with her Peruvian “in-laws” because they sent over their illegal domestic worker and she paid the girl what housekeepers should get paid. If she got paid decent she wouldn’t clean their houses for nothing anymore. There, again, it was legal Peruvians exploiting an illegal Peruvian. Because they *could*.

    An ID is not going to solve this problem.

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