A proposal to offer illegal immigrants municipal IDs cleared committee Monday in a unanimous vote, and will now head to the full Minneapolis City Council for consideration.
According to Fox 9, more than 50 people in support of the program attended Monday’s meeting, but nobody in attendance testified against the proposal. Supporters of the municipal ID, such as Jovita Morales, spoke about the difficulties she’s had in renting apartments or opening up a bank account without identification.
“I couldn’t open a bank account,” Morales told the committee, according to MPR News. “I’ve been challenged to rent apartments. Every time when I wanted to rent an apartment, they ask for a Social Security number or they ask you all the time for a state ID.”
Under the program, a “municipal identification card” would be available to all “residents ages 14 and up” regardless of “immigration status, homelessness, or gender identity,” The Minnesota Sun previously reported.
The IDs would further serve as a “recognized ID for interacting with the Minneapolis Police Department,” effectively allowing illegal immigrants to go unnoticed by the city’s law enforcement.
“As a government-issued photo identification card, the Minneapolis municipal ID will help provide the peace of mind and access to city services that come from having a recognized form of identification,” the city’s website states. “Cardholders will be able to access services and programs offered by the city as well as by other partners or businesses.”
Other major cities like New York and San Francisco have implemented similar programs, and it would likely be supported by Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D-MN), who has expressed support for sanctuary-state policies.
To qualify for the ID, according to MPR, applicants would need to first provide an additional form of identification, such as a passport, and show proof of residing in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis city website claims the municipal ID will help illegal immigrants open a bank account, be admitted to a hospital, obtain prescription drugs, file a police report, and receive “identification with your preferred gender identity.”
The ID, however, cannot be used to vote, purchase alcohol or tobacco, or government benefits, such as food stamps.
Fox 9 reports that $200,000 has been reserved for implementing the program, which would take effect by the end of 2019 if passed by the full Minneapolis City Council.
“One of the primary benefits is that our Minneapolis Police Department is going to accept the ID as a form of identification so we feel like that will increase safety and trusting relationships between our local police,” Councilwoman Alondra Cano said during Monday’s vote. “In times of great division, we feel like we really need something to rally around as a symbol of us being welcoming folks in Minneapolis and being proud of all the amenities and safety and connections that we share as a community.”
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