Yesterday I had to go prove that I am an American citizen and not here illegally. In case you are wondering, I was born here. My parents were born here. In fact, my family traces directly back to the Mayflower (and before) and I even have documentation showing I am descended from people who fought in the American revolution. In short, I am as American as fortune cookies.
You might be wondering why I had to do this. I was told by the HR department that because of something Rick Scott (our “small government” governor) had decided, I would be required to turn in an I-9 form. Mind you, I had to establish my American citizenship when I was hired as an adjunct and then, as I recall, when I was hired into a normal line. I also have had to establish my credentials at various times for various reasons, so my status as an American citizen should have been well established. Apparently, however, this was not enough. Fortunately, when Homeland Security came into being, I wisely took the step of renewing my passport. As such, I was able to establish that I am, in fact, an American citizen. The fact that I have to use my passport to show that I am an American citizen illustrates that the bureaucracy needs to be streamlined. After all, the government folks who need to know if I am an American, should be able to just confirm that via my passport data. Of course, bureaucracy is like a virus: it is mainly all about making more of itself.
I do, of course, understand the need to check on the legal status of employees. People who are here illegally should not be allowed to remain and one way of finding such people and also encouraging them to leave voluntarily is to require employers to verify their status. However, once this status is established, it seems somewhat unreasonable to require that it be established again unless, of course, there are some grounds for suspecting that a person engaged in duplicity or their status somehow changed. After all, this process adds to the paperwork that must be done and also involves governmental intrusion. True, it is fairly minor. All I had to do was get the form, complete it, get my passport, copy my passport, drive to the university, have the office manager complete her part of the form and then head home (because the budget cuts mean that I am not teaching this summer). The documents then have to be passed on to HR, processed, and then passed on to the rest of the bureaucracy. I assume it eventually ends up on Obama’s desk.