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Senate immigration group: National ID too costly

FILE - In this Oct. 12 2011 file phoSen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. left Sen. Charles Schumer D-N.Y. wait speak news

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2011 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. wait to speak at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senators writing a comprehensive immigration bill are likely to abandon plans to institute a national ID for all workers. It proved too costly, a key senator says. Instead they are looking at expanding a little-used and error-prone program that lets employers verify the immigration status of workers through Social Security numbers. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators working on a bipartisan immigration bill are likely abandoning the idea of requiring a new high-tech federal identity cartd for workers because it is too expensive.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says cost estimates for the biometric ID card he favors came in higher than expected. The card was intended as a way to ensure employers don’t hire illegal workers.

Graham says no final decisions have been made but that the group is looking at other options instead. Outside experts say that likely means expanding an existing system called E-Verify that employers can use to check the legal status of prospective workers.

Right now that system is little-used and error-prone, and lawmakers and others say it would have to be greatly improved before being required nationally.

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