BY MILO YIANNOPOULOS
There is something they don’t tell you when you marry an American citizen. The moment you apply for a Green Card, life can become maddeningly complex. Depending on your home state, putting in your Green Card application can place you in a state of legal limbo in which you can no longer interact with the federal government or identify yourself to the government or private companies because you are no longer eligible for state-issued identification.
Every state’s D.M.V. has ever-so-slightly different rules about what documents, stamps and statuses from United States Customs and Immigration Services and other government agencies are good enough to get you a driving license or an I.D. card. Since I applied for my Green Card, I have, as far as New Jersey and many other states are concerned, become a non-person. I used to be in the country on an O-1 visa, for aliens “of extraordinary ability.” It’s the athlete and celebrity visa—just the sort of people America wants in.
My visa has expired since I applied, but that’s perfectly acceptable—indeed, it’s the usual course of events. The problem is, it can take a year for the government to do anything with your Green Card application, during which time you can’t work and you can’t leave the country, either. Nor can I purchase healthcare insurance—for me or for my family, which includes minors. I’m here legally, but stuck in a liminal space between the expiration of my previous visa and a simple letter from the government saying “We received your application.”
Have you ever tried to live without I.D.? It’s basically impossible. And it’s risky. I now have to take my original British passport everywhere I go. If my briefcase ever got stolen, I’d have to fly back to the U.K. immediately and start a long process to re-enter the country that could take months. And I’d have to start my Green Card application all over again, since leaving the country automatically marks your application as “abandoned.” This is the sort of thing that causes catastrophic family upheaval.
According to Dante, limbo is a region on the edge of Hell—technically the first circle—into which virtuous non-Christians and unbaptized infants go. It sucks that they can’t get into Heaven, but at least they get to hang out with all the cool people from Ancient Greece and Rome. Sounds lame, but those dead babies have it easy compared to me. Thanks to the institutional lunacy of America’s immigration system, I can’t even buy a drink in my home state of New Jersey, whereas I’m pretty sure pagan limbo is awash in coke and strippers for all those pre-Christian heroes.
But here’s what really stings. I have paid gazillions into the federal coffers over the years in tax, and created dozens of jobs here in America. I get told No: the state will not give you a piece of plastic stating your name and age. Yet my neighbor has a gardener in the country illegally. He crossed the Mexican border over a decade ago and works for cash. He—yup, you guessed it—has a New Jersey state I.D. card, and has done for years. He told me—somewhat gleefully—that he simply kept his card from the first time around, before he got deported, and started using it again when he again re-entered illegally.
This sounded like an insane lie to me, so I called up USCIS and it turns out that non-citizens can get the stamp their passport needs or equivalent paperwork for New Jersey state I.D. under a few conditions, one of which is... being the subject of a deportation order. That’s right. If you get deported you can just re-enter and carry on with your life, complete with I.D. card.
Devolving things like identification cards down to state level was probably a mistake, given that it’s the federal government that’s responsible for maintaining the nation’s borders and conducting elections. It would be better for a central authority to take over the job of confirming people are who they claim to be. The same people who issue passports could send you a free I.D. card when you order one! It would be great. Indeed, that's what the coming REAL ID system promises, at last.
I’m willing to bet most Americans could tolerate a “Papers, please,” society if it means fewer illegals draining public resources. Who knows what all the money goes on, but a lot of federally-funded universities proudly advertise their services tailored to illegal alien students. No more taxpayer money spent on lesbian dance therapy for illegal Hispanic undergraduates is probably the right direction to go in.
Standardized national identification will have the added benefit of assisting Republicans in elections. Not because of racism, but because conservative voters tend to have their shit together. If you need an I.D. card to buy a beer, it’s ludicrous to claim you shouldn’t need one to put a President in the White House. I am relaxed about making life difficult for citizens unable or unwilling to manage basic domestic affairs but keen to elect the most powerful person in the world.
According to NPR, millions of Americans lack proper identification. But they tend to be very poor or live in rural areas where you don’t get carded at the liquor store because your dad’s known the guy for fifty years. If you live in or near a big city and have a business to operate and once in a while feel like having an alcoholic drink in a bar, well… you’re stuffed.
Plus, a lot of payment platforms rely on digital identity verification, which requires photos of your I.D. These companies have no alternative verification methods in place, which is why I am now, for the foreseeable future at least, locked out of the Cash app, which until recently was one of my few remaining funding sources. The best solution would be a universally-recognized system capable of properly reflecting the card-holder’s immigration status.
Illegal aliens could be turned away quickly and efficiently from a whole range of government services. Hospitals will know to turn people in the emergency room away before spending taxpayers’ money on people who shouldn’t be here! (I realize this will add to processing times, since they already perform a credit check before fixing a hangnail, but it’s a small price to pay to balance the federal budget.)
Universities could be required to accept only a specific few types of I.D. card from new students, or lose federal funding. The D.M.V. could set up a special “Shut up, you’re not even supposed to be here” line to cut down on waiting times for real Americans. Thinking ahead, highways could even sense if drivers are American citizens and usher them into a special fast lane to help them reach their destinations.
And why stop at citizenship and immigration status? The cards could be encoded with all kinds of useful information about the holder and perform a variety of worthwhile functions to encourage wholesome lifestyle choices. The Left has been trying to do this to society anyway with identity politics and conspiracy theories about patriarchy and white supremacy. Using the efficiency and imagination available to the conservative mind, we could not only speed up the process but take the opportunity to define the minority groups properly and dish out permissions based on past behavior.
Haters will call it “profiling,” but it is better understood merely as efficiency. Muslims could be automatically sent to additional screening at the airport. Christians with more than two children could be excused from state tax at the register as a thank-you. Lesbians could be more easily herded into public squares to have rotting vegetables thrown at them. Gay men could be denied access to elementary schools in case any of them feel the sudden urge to don a wig and a frock and read to the children.
Democrats could be reminded to shower more than once a week when they check into hotel rooms. Vapers could be reminded hourly to kill themselves. Anyone who pays more than a million dollars a year in tax gets a special TRICKLE-DOWN CHAMPION badge that gives them priority seating at mandatory book-burnings of feminist literature, and free refills at those fancy movie theaters where they serve you a meal at your seat.
I realize that not many of these proposals will be taken up in Washington, D.C., because your elected representatives are not as visionary or clever as I am. And, inevitably, the rollout of REAL ID will be absolute chaos, just like everything else the government does, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. But the pandemonium will be a price worth paying if it simplifies the current system, irons out some of these cruel state-level absurdities and kills voter fraud from Rio Grande champion endurance swimmers stone dead.
In October 2020, when the new REAL ID cards become compulsory, millions of ill-prepared travelers will be turned away from the check-in desk because they don’t have the new federal-standard identification. Just think of the poor bastards who flew shortly before the deadline, but can’t get on the plane home because they didn’t know the rules changed while they were away. To be blunt, I do not care. Let them buy new tickets. Call it the Stupid Tax.
If not only Dreamers but illegals marked for deportation and even those previously deported can get I.D. cards, what am I? A Nightmarer? There isn’t a word bad enough for how immensely demented this all is. It’s worth adding one final, infuriatingly hilarious detail about my predicament. State I.D. cards say absolutely nothing about your immigration or citizenship status. It’s merely there to establish that the cardholder is who they purport to be, so you can perform simple everyday functions in society. Which makes the whole thing even more rage-inducing.
Obviously, it should be hard to get into this country. I have no problem with the long processing times for Green Cards. And, obviously, it should be perilous to be here illegally. Those who don’t apply legally for residence or present themselves at a port to request asylum should live their lives in constant terror, fearing discovery. Too often, however, America’s immigration system and frequently bonkers, wildly inconsistent state-level demands throw up absurdities that appear to discriminate in favor of the lawless, and which punish those of us who do things by the book.
Under ordinary circumstances, any enlargement of the purview of the federal government is a moral abomination and a practical horror. Sensible people keep their interactions with the government as close to zero as possible. But REAL ID is long overdue, especially since not even Ann Coulter has the slightest idea who is in America today and how many millions of souls belong somewhere else. Because leaving it to the states has been a calamity for the law-abiding.
If all this unsettles you, or offends your libertarian sensibilities, I’m afraid the battle has already been fought. You lost. In 2002, over half of Americans surveyed said they supported a national identification scheme. Given the illegal immigration scandals since, this President’s failure to build a wall on the southern border and continuing Islamic horrors all over the world, it’s safe to assume that this percentage has shot up.
The cards are coming. Embrace it. Is there a person reading this who wouldn't brandish their Straight White Able-Bodied Christian Male All-Access Community Pass with pride?
Milo Yiannopoulos is a New York Times-bestselling author and award-winning journalist. His weekly late-night extravaganza of righteous indignation and casual cruelty, Friday Night’s All Right, airs Fridays 8/7c on freespeech.tv.