Friday was one of those odd convergences which both annoy and creep me out. I had to prove that I was a U.S. citizen. Now for folks in other countries, this probably isn't so weird. And given the U.S. government's stance on immigration and how we treat foreigners when they come to visit the U.S., my point here may not generate much sympathy.
But Americans are a feisty lot, and I think many fall under the feeling of "Of course I'm an American, I'm here, aren't I?" Likewise, there is real resistance to creating a national ID card, and the Federal legislation involving state driver's licenses and Real ID involves quite a lot of feedback from the states.
Anyway, I had to fill out an I-9 form for my employer, the university. Now lots of people have filled out an I-9 before. In fact, I've filled out I-9's before -- even at this university. And it doesn't seem to matter that while the rules suggest temporary or part-time workers have to fill out an I-9 every three years, this requirement is waived if you've been rehired in the previous year. Well, I work semester to semester. And other than taking either half or all of the summer off, I've been working here at the university for a long time. So if I'm reading the directions right, I shouldn't have to fill out a new I-9. And if my reading is wrong, then the directions aren't very clear.
But it doesn't matter. There is a new version of the I-9. Or rather, it seems, there is a revised list of what's in Column A, B and C of what sorts of things are acceptable documents. And the Feds are threatening dire penalties for each and every violation by an employer, so the university wants to make sure every "i" is dotted multiple times in case someone scrutinizes them.
The Other Thing
An aside: Is anyone else creeped out by some of the language these days? Homeland Security just sounds too much like the Father- or Motherland. And the debate about the war in terms of "treasure and lives" just seems so old-fashioned. So filling out an Immigration I-9 form as a U.S. citizen in the United States... well, it just seems weird. (sigh)
The De Facto National ID
Anyway, rather than show a Michigan driver's license and a Social Security card, I opted to bring in my passport. I've proven to the Feds who I am, the least I can do is use their own documents on their own forms.
And anyway part two, this all had to do with part-timers. Now there's likely to be some sort of stink soon because there's a story going around that many full-time employees were grandfathered-in back in like 1986 and so have never filled out an I-9 and now they may have to. Where this will get exciting is the following scenario: Years ago one routinely carried your Social Security card in your wallet. Then as the whole identity theft business began to grow, security experts urged people NOT to carry their Social Security cards with them, in case their wallets were stolen.
Which begs the new question -- Do you know where your Social Security card is tonight? (grin)