The Biden Administration recently announced plans to provide ID cards to undocumented immigrants to provide them with greater stability and reduce the likelihood of deportation. According to a report from Fox News, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to issue photo ID cards to a large number of undocumented immigrants before they are fully integrated into American society. The decision was recently made public and has garnered significant attention.
The identification cards, which will be issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are designed to be comprehensive. They will feature the holder’s photograph and include biographical details and a range of advanced security features. The origin of this initiative can be traced back to the “Secure Docket Program” launched by ICE last year. The program was conceived to modernize and enhance the identification methods used for illegal migrants who are in the U.S. and are awaiting their court hearings. These hearings can sometimes be scheduled several years into the future.
The specific details of this program are still being developed; one of its primary objectives is to phase out the current, inconsistent paper forms given to migrants. The paper forms have also been criticized for their fragility and susceptibility to wear and tear over time. An ICE representative had mentioned in the previous year that the pilot program’s success might pave the way for a broader rollout. Notably, ICE has already completed the necessary steps to notify Congress about the pilot program’s progress.
The proposed ID cards are meticulously designed. They will have a photograph, a QR code for quick scanning, detailed security features, and the prominent ICE logo. At present, the federal government provides illegal migrants with paper documents that detail their immigration status. However, ICE has raised concerns about these paper documents. They argue that such documents pose a tangible security risk, are easily misplaced or lost, and deteriorate rapidly, leading to complications for both the government and the migrants themselves.
Yet, this move by the Biden Administration has not been without its critics. Some argue that these ID cards are being used as bait or incentive for illegal migrants. They believe the underlying message is welcoming these migrants into the U.S. rather than saying they should leave. RJ Hauman, president of the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE), voiced his concerns to Fox News. He opined that ICE’s primary role should be to arrest, detain, and deport those who enter the U.S. illegally rather than extending services to them.
This decision by the administration is particularly significant given the current backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico border situation. There has been a marked surge in illegal crossings. A case in point is the recent incident where over 10,000 migrants entered Eagle Pass, Texas. This influx led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the border town. To illustrate the severity of the situation, before the break of dawn on any particular Thursday, as many as 250 migrants are in line, waiting to be processed. The border patrol waits the expectation of hundreds more arriving daily.