The Biden administration reportedly plans to issue Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Docket Cards to illegal immigrants as a way to track the volume of migrants being released into the U.S.
ICE describes the program, which was announced last year, as one that will "modernize various forms of documentation provided to provisionally released noncitizens through a consistent, verifiable, secure card." The ID will have a photograph, biographic identifiers, and "cutting-edge" security features.
Though immigration officials insist the card will not be an official form of federal identification, Art Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), has concerns.
"If you issue individuals, most of whom probably don't have any valid documents, a valid ID card, that's going to enable them to move through our system, and that's going to create a national security vulnerability in our system like we've never seen in our history," he warns. "We know that bad people are out there and that they want to adversely affect us."
He does, however, see one positive aspect to this program.
"It's going to make it a whole lot easier for President Trump, President DeSantis, President Haley, President Pompeo to go out and actually apprehend these people, because it will be a document that verifies that they're not here legally in the United States," Arthur says. "That's certainly not the White House's intention, but that is definitely a possible beneficial impact of this, and the only positive beneficial impact I can think of."
As for the special work permits the president is giving hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan nationals in the U.S., Arthur does not think they will have the desired effect at the ballot box.
The Biden administration announced last week that it is granting temporary legal status to an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans who are already in the country, quickly making them eligible to work. That is in addition to the 242,700 Venezuelans who already qualified for temporary status before the announcement.
"One of the things that we know about the Venezuelan community in Florida in particular is that they do vote Republican," the CIS spokesman notes. "In fact, going back to the 2022 gubernatorial election in the Sunshine State, Ron DeSantis benefited from the votes of those in heavily Venezuelan sections of Florida."
Arthur says this announcement, which will benefit roughly 714,000 Venezuelans in the United States, the approximate population of the city of San Francisco, is "purely political."
"The only reason that the White House is doing this is to take the heat off of New York Governor [Kathy] Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who are faced with migrant crises that they invited but that they can't deal with," he submits. "This is a naked political act, one that I think is probably going to redound to the administration's disadvantage."
Meanwhile and "more importantly," however, Arthur points out that it is going to encourage more Venezuelans to enter the United States illegally.