Rahm To Introduce City ID Program For Undocumented Immigrants

By Stephen Gossett in News on Mar 29, 2017 3:44PM

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Rahm Emanuel / Photo: Aaron Cynic

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will put forth on Wednesday a new ordinance designed to clear path for municipal identification cards for undocumented immigrants. The ordinance would also allow for cards for the formerly incarcerated and homeless people, according to a statement posted by mayoral spokesperson Adam Collins.

The long-touted ID card would allow undocumented immigrants access to city services, cultural institutions, programs and other benefits. The measure is expected to be introduced by Emanuel and City Clerk Anna Valencia. The Sun-Times notes, "When Emanuel appointed Valencia to replace Susana Mendoza, his marching orders were to speed up the one-year timetable for implementing the municipal ID..." The first ID is expected to be issued before the end of the year, according to Collins' statement.

Seeking to allay potential fears that the federal government could compel the city to share personal files, city officials said they "will not retain copies of applicants' personal information."

The Tribune writes:

"The city may keep records of the names of applicants, according to an administration official who asked not to be named. But the city won't hold onto applicants' addresses, phone numbers or copies of any supporting documents they present to prove their identity and their residency, the official said."

A million dollars were set aside in Emanuel's budget to fund the program. The mayor is expected to make further details public on Wednesday.

The introduction of the ordinance comes on the heels of the Trump administration's latest threats to strip Department of Justice funds for sanctuary cities, like Chicago, and with Emanuel facing criticism from the left to do more to protect undocumented immigrants. Emanuel vowed to keep Chicago a "welcoming city" for all.