Ron Paul’s Immigration Conspiracy Theory

On Wednesday, Ron Paul continued his push against immigration reform with an email promoting a conspiratorial video released in May by the Campaign for Liberty, the former Texas congressman’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit. In the video, Paul warns, without evidence, that “it’s only a matter of time before ‘ID scans’ will be required to travel, attend public events, or even make routine purchases.” Paul also claims that the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration bill is a sneaky collaboration with President Barack Obama to create “by far the worst national ID scheme the statists have come up with yet.”

The video was first posted to YouTube in May, and Paul’s anti-immigration views are no secret. But the new email is notable given that Ron Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has said he could support the Senate bill if it includes an amendment addressing Republican concerns about border security. Rand Paul has said repeatedly that he supports immigration reform, but he has expressed concerns about a national ID system and wants the bill to include triggers that would restrict immigrants’ path to citizenship if certain border security goals aren’t met. But he hasn’t echoed his father’s most conspiratorial claims.

“Not only does this bill increase federal spending,” the elder Paul says in the video, “it mandates every American carry a national ID card with their photo and creates a new federal database containing biometric information on every American, such as fingerprints and retinal scans. The card would be required for all US workers regardless of place of birth, making it illegal for anyone to hold a job in the United States who doesn’t obtain an ID card.”

That’s not true. In reality, the Senate bill explicitly prohibits a national ID card. Some privacy advocates have argued the bill would create a de facto national ID system by requiring mandatory electronic employment checks against a federal database containing some biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs. Ron Paul goes much further than the privacy groups, though, arguing, “This is exactly the type of battle that often decides whether a country remains free or continues down a slide to tyranny.”

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