America need not apologize for ID system
The new U.S. policy of digitally fingerprinting and photographing many foreign visitors to our country has created a stir in some of the nations impacted by the security procedures.
A Brazilian judge retaliated by requiring the same actions for American visitors there, saying, "I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis."
Apparently the judge leads a pretty sheltered life, since all nations have had the freedom to require whatever forms of identification they wish for visitors. The use of instant digital fingerprinting and storage of information in a database for future recognition is certainly technologically more advanced, but it is nevertheless along the same lines as requiring passports, visas and other forms of identification.
And Brazil is certainly within its rights to require whatever forms of identification it wishes for foreign visitors, Americans or otherwise. If visitors to America or Brazil or any other nation don't like the entry requirements, then they can choose not to visit.
The United States has no need to apologize for its new identification system which is designed to increase America's security by helping to detect potential terrorists. And protecting the nation's security and the rights of Americans is the number one duty of our government.
Some has criticized the new system as being unfair because not all foreign nationals are treated equally. Those from some 28 nations - including Canada, Japan, Australia, European nations and other places considered non-threatening - are exempted from the requirement.
It is true there is "unfairness" is the policy, but security measures don't necessarily have to be fair. They do need to be effective, however, and that is a more appropriate criticism of the differing requirements for identification.
The belief that the terror threat can only come from a particular nation, region or ethnic background is dangerous. True, some areas are more likely to produce terrorists but it is naive to believe that terrorists will not exploit a security system that leaves certain doors open.
The reason for treating all visitors the same is a practical one, not an ethical one. If we don't, then it leaves a hole in our security net.