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Letter: What price will we pay for the illusion of safety?

What price will we pay for the illusion of safety?

Whatever happened to the “land of the free?” As reported in The News, and as part of the Secure Our Borders First Act, House Republicans want to impose biometric ID requirements, both fingerprints and/or iris scans, on all who cross the U.S. border into Canada. This is a supposed anti-terrorism and anti-undocumented immigrant measure.

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, wants to delay implementation only until it can be proven that such border inspections will not hinder cross-border commerce. Yet, amazingly, he has said nothing of the repressive and anti-democratic character of this ID plan. I am confident that there are other Democrats who will agree with him as well.

Biometric inspections are measures of repression that smack of fascist regimes or the Stalinist internal passport system. The ostensible justification given by the Republicans is that it’s a way to determine who might be a terrorist and/or who is an undocumented immigrant. Of course that logic says: “Why stop at the border?” To protect us from terrorism and check on undocumented immigrants, mustn’t all civilians, citizen and non-citizen alike, be fingerprinted and eye-scanned, throughout the country? We all want to be safe, but at what cost? As Ben Franklin said; “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

The fear of terrorism and concerns about undocumented immigrants have become the perfect foils for domestic anti-democratic and repressive policies, whether supported by Republicans or Democrats, or both.

Gene Grabiner