I am speechless. I’m sure that at some point in the future I’m going to be able to calm down enough to vocalize how utterly stupid this idea is… but it won’t be today.

Immigrant advocates decry microchip idea
Company says implants aren’t tracking devices but help with ID

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

A tiny microchip implanted just under the skin offers the best tamper-proof identity system for immigrant guest workers, says the head of a Florida-based company that has already implanted millions of the identity chips in household pets and livestock.

But the idea of planting microchips in the arms of migrant workers, which a prominent Washington lawmaker brought up last week, has outraged immigrant advocates, privacy watchdogs, employer groups and immigrants themselves.


“Oh my God,” said Laura Reiff, co-chair and founder of Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based employers group working for immigration reform. “I can’t imagine it being contemplated in the near future. It’s wild.”

Scott Silverman, chairman and CEO of Applied Digital, where the chips are made, doesn’t think it’s such an outlandish idea.

In fact, he said, key congressional leaders — who he declined to identify — have told him they’re interested in the technology as a tamper-proof guest worker identification system.


The chips are not tracking devices, do not contain GPS transmitters, and are more reliable than biometric credentials that use fingerprints or optical scans to confirm identity, Silverman said.

Silverman said the VeriChip tag, the size of a grain of rice, has been implanted in 30 million pets during the past 15 years and was approved for human use by the FDA in 2004.

Currently, the company has sold the microchips and hand-held scanners to nearly 100 hospitals, for use by Alzheimer’s patients and others who cannot provide their medical history, Silverman said.


Nathan Selzer, a Harlingen activist who heads the Valley Movement for Human Rights, said the proposal “is an affront to a person’s dignity.”

“As long as it’s OK to treat people as less than human, we’ll continue to have abuse and exploitation, whether they have chips in their arms or not.”

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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