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National Identification Cards for Americans

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An identification card refers to a document used in verifying an individual’s personal identity. The policy was put forward in America as a security measure to curb terrorism. It was a recommendation after the terrorists’ attack of America. The real ID act was then passed and was to take effect from 11th May, 2011. Until then driving license and other documents served as an identification document. After the law had been passed citizens would be required to carry their ID cards with them. A citizen would be required to use the card while driving, boarding a plane, or train, voting, entering a government’s building, opening a bank account, or getting a job. Without the ID card, life would be impossible in America (Henschen and Sidlow 137). Thus, the importance of an ID card in America cannot be overlooked. However, many people view this idea as unjust and unfair (Robert 34). The main objective of this paper is to explain the reasons why Americans should be required to carry national ID cards. In addition, it will explain the arguments against such reasons.

In the first place, the terrorist attack was the result of inadequate identification documents. The argument is that the use of national ID card can help control such national tragedies. The information contained in the ID card would include name and address of the holder, fingerprint, as well as a computer chip, which would be embedded in it. Thus, it would be scanned to retrieve the particulars of the holder. The ID card would enhance identification of persons listed as threats to the United States. However, opponents to the carrying of ID cards argue that even the terrorists of September 11 had various identification documents. Still they were able to penetrate despite having been on the government’s watch list. In addition, they argue that such terrorists are still able to acquire documents needed to get governments identification cards. They would still do this legally or illegally as fraudulent documents. Thus, according to the opponents, national ID cards would not solve the problem for which it was intended (Davis 236).

Secondly, proponents argue that other countries, as well as the private sector, have effectively used it to identify people. Such measure would further help in improving the security situation. Thus, America should also adopt it for its citizens for ease of identification. Every American would therefore be identified as he or she leaves or enters the country to know their whereabouts. However, this has also been challenged owing to the lack of coordination in the government’s databases (Davis 237).

In the third place, it is argued that a national ID card is useful in avoiding mismatching people. In addition, it would help fight fraud. Accordingly, every individual has his/her own identification in the form of DNA (McElroy and Watner 137). Such information cannot be falsified whatsoever. Therefore, an ID card is said to be a secure proof of one’s identity. Money laundering and fraud would thus be minimized or eliminated. However, opponents argue that this is against the economic justice law of free movement and privacy to all. In addition, they argue that personal information may be disseminated to wrong persons, which further hinders the privacy right to all persons. Proponents argue that privacy can still be secured by instituting stronger laws of privacy protection. In fact, proper legislative measures would guarantee that citizens’ privacy of personal information will be assured largely (McElroy and Watner 138). 

Other reasons for carrying ID cards include reducing discrimination and harassment and helping in monitoring the movements of citizens. Thus, racial discrimination would be significantly reduced. However, the argument is that it would give rise to new forms of discrimination. It is important to note that the advantages of carrying ID cards are numerous. In addition, it has been successfully implemented in other countries (Abernethy 271). Therefore, it is suitable for Americans to try it, so that they can reap the benefits enjoyed by other countries. The most important is to improve security situation in the United States.

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