Alex Massie

Tattoos would be cheaper...

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Hmmm. Just how would this work, Rudy?

EVERY foreigner in America, including British visitors, would be required to carry an ID card bearing photograph and fingerprints under plans drawn up by Rudolph Giuliani, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Giuliani is hoping to cement his status as the Republican favourite by promising to enforce immigration and border controls, drawing on expertise in combating crime from his time as mayor of New York. He announced last week that all foreigners, including holiday-makers, would be obliged to carry a “tamper-proof” biometric card, which could be issued at ports of entry.

“If you don’t have that card, you get thrown out of the country,” Giuliani said. He intends to call it a Safe card (for secure authorised foreign entry).

One might dismiss this as pointless grandstanding were this daft proposal coming from any other candidate. But there is the grisly prospect that Giuliani actually means this...

Of course, foreigners are already photographed and have their fingerprints taken upon arrival in the US, so it's not clear to me exactly what the point of this "Safe" card would be, beyond being seen to be seeming to do something "tough" on security matters. In other words, it's an extension of the approach to airline security: appearances matter more than realistic appraisals of risk.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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