A new “municipal ID” program will effectively transform Minneapolis into a sanctuary city as early as 2019 in order to “further advance the city’s racial equity goals.”
According to the city’s website, the “municipal identification card” will be available to all “residents ages 14 and up” regardless of “immigration status, homelessness, or gender identity.” Similar programs in cities such as New York and San Francisco have been criticized for providing illegal immigrants and those without a permanent address a legitimate form of identification.
Additionally, Minneapolis’ municipal ID will serve as a “recognized ID for interacting with the Minneapolis Police Department,” thereby 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 website states. “Cardholders will be able to access services and programs offered by the city as well as by other partners or businesses.”
The Minneapolis City Council, which is responsible for implementing the program, also notes that it plans to issue the cards directly through “city institutions,” as opposed to “involving a third party,” in order to “safeguard personal data.”
The program was first discussed back in 2017 after the city of Northfield, Minnesota introduced a municipal ID. The idea was spearheaded by City Council members Alondra Cano, Cam Gordon, and Jacob Frey, who is now mayor of Minneapolis, in response to legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton that barred illegal immigrants from obtaining a driver’s license.
The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has been leading a national campaign to help cities across the country introduce municipal IDs, offering a toolkit for state legislators to “take the fight for immigrant dignity to cities across the country.”
“In each city we pass municipal ID, the immediate outpouring of immigrant families eager to cement their status as members of communities is heartening,” CPD Co-Executive Director Ana Maria Archila said in a press release. “Immigrants’ history and contributions make them central parts of our communities across the country. This toolkit symbolizes the effort, partnerships, and strong bonds that will take the fight for immigrant justice to the next level in cities across the country.”
In Minneapolis, the municipal ID will not serve as legitimate identification for participating in election or applying for welfare benefits. If elected, the move would likely be supported by Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party candidate for governor, Tim Walz, who supports declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state.
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