A presidential task force has decided to recommend that the Reagan administration take drastic action to prevent any new flood of Cuban and Haitian refugees into Florida by stopping boats on the high seas and detaining the newcomers in what they recognize could be called "concentration camps."
Another recommendation would be to set up what amounts to a national identity card, long a controversial concept.
The options are part of a final draft report prepared last month for the president's task force on immigration and refugee policy. The proposals are being refined before being forwarded to the White House in the next week or so for final policy decisions.
Officials said yesterday that the policy options include the strict enforcement proposal as a means to help sell the generous amnesty for illegal aliens that also is being proposed.
The two-tier amnesty, involving 2.7 million illegal aliens, and the "guest-worker" proposal for 50,000 Mexicans a year were discussed earlier this week when President Reagan meet Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo at Camp David.
The proposals also include a graduated series of civil and criminal penalties for employers who "knowingly and willfully" hire illegal aliens.
To help enforce that, the task force recommended introducing a new, counterfeit-proof Social Security card that it recognized "is a national identity card by another name" and "an additional intrusion of government into our daily lives." A Carter administration task force declined to recommend use of such an identity card because of its Big Brother" connotations.
One official involved in drafting the Reagan task force recommendations said the members recognized that the stiff enforcement proposal would be controversial, but noted that "the amnesty will be a big thing to swallow politically. The only way to sell it is to say it's a one-time thing and it won't happen again. That's where the tough enforcement stand comes in."
Last year's flood of 160,000 Cubans and Haitians into south Florida created a political crisis for the Carter administration and caused a backlash against immigrants around the country.
The draft report noted that intelligence estimates indicated that another 200,000 Cubans were ready to come to the United States if Fidel Castro opened the port of Mariel.
Most of the Cubans have been resettled, although more than 1,200 "social misfits" still are housed at Fort Chaffee, Ark., the report said. Last week the Immigration and Naturalization Service began mass deportation hearings in Miami on dozens of Haitians, but alien rights lawyers got a federal judge to delay a flight back to Haiti, claiming that due process rights were violated.
The political sensitivity of the Cuban-Haitian refugee problem is candidly described in the task force option paper prepared by David Hiller, a special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith.
It notes, for instance, that a policy of stopping boats leaving Haiti "could set an international precedent for turning away 'boat people' seeking asylum in Southeast Asia." The State Department has tried to talk foreign governments such as Thailand and Malaysia into accepting thousands fleeing Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.
Indefinite detention of newly arrived aliens would create a political problem in the communities near camps, and the "appearance of 'concentration camps' which, at the present time, would be filled largely by blacks, may be publicly unacceptable," the report said.
Listed as possible homes for future detainees were camps at Ellington Air Force Base, near Houston, Hamilton Air Force Base, outside San Francisco, Roanoke Rapids Air Force Base in North Carolina, Craig Air Force Base, near Selma, Ala., and a department of Abor facility in Indiana.
A combined interdiction-detention policy would be opposed by liberals, minorities and church groups "as draconian and, they may say, racist," the report said.
The president would need legislation to empower him to order the Coast Guard to intercept vessels on the way to the United States. The idea would be for INS officers to board boats as close to Haiti as possible, for instance, to determine on the spot which passengers were eligible for asylum in the United States. The others would be returned to Haiti. The report said the interdiction would be selective with the hope that it would serve as a deterrent.
The task force of Cabinet-level officials also calls for changes to quicken the pace of exclusion hearings for aliens that now drag on for months. New INS asylum officers would hear the cases. The current "elaborate procedures are not necessary for a fair hearing, and are completely unworkable in the event of a mass inflow of aliens," the report said.
The Cubans and Haitians who entered the United States before last Oct. 10 would be allowed to apply for permanent resident status after living here for two years, the report recommends. Like the amnesty for illegal Mexican aliens, this would be a one-time adjustment.
Rick Swartz, attorney for a coalition of groups defending Haitians and Cubans, said yesterday that the interdiction-detention proposals would be fought.
"We will do everything we can to protect alien rights," he said. "We'll bring lawsuits all over the place. Most of this has been tried before, and they violated every rule in the book doing it. They would be better off acknowledging the Haitians are refugees and then going after Haiti with international pressure" to change political conditions there.