Privacy SOS

Chris Christie: Track foreign visitors to the United States like FedEx tracks packages

Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie said if elected he would model a system for tracking immigrants and foreign visitors to the United States on the package tracking system in place at FedEx. For Christie, fingerprinting, photographing, obsessively documenting, and taking iris scans from foreign visitors isn't enough.

“At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane,” Christie said to a group of voters in New Hampshire. “Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them."

Christie made the 'solution' sound simple: "However long your visa is, then we go get you. We tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Excuse me. Thanks for coming. Time to go,'" he said.

We track you like a package and then we tap you on the shoulder and kick you out. It sure sounds like Chris Christie thinks a modern variation on the Nazi tattoo system is in order!

How might such a technology work? Perhaps President Christie could spend billions of dollars installing miniature surgery stations at every point of entry in the United States, where visitors would have tracking implants embedded deep in their skin. Or maybe surgery isn't necessary, because one of the many "homeland security" or war corporations that drain our federal coffers each year could come up with an implant system that any old TSA or CBP agent could fire off into an immigrant's arm, no more complex than a staple gun.

My how things have changed. During the 2008 election, political pundits and presidential candidates alike worked hard to convince Latino voters that they cared about immigrant rights. Today, the GOP field looks like a race to see who can say the most outrageous, xenophobic nonsense about how to control and deport the most immigrants possible.

Meanwhile, everyone seems to have forgotten that the current president, a democrat, earned his nickname Deporter in Chief by overseeing more deportations than any prior president (four million and climbing). I guess to top that, you have to go full Third Reich 2.0.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.