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Unauthorized Immigrants Get photo ID Badges in New Jersey

Municipal ID CardsMunicipal photo ID badges are continuing to be widely accepted in New Jersey and across the United States. (nj.com)

Highland Park, Perth Amboy and other surrounding communities of New Jersey are working through strong considerations about adopting municipal photo ID cards for unauthorized immigrants. Other areas like Mercer, Trenton and Morris counties as well as Newark and Asbury Park have already made these ID cards available.

For individuals who are unable to presently acquire a government issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, these municipal photo ID badges are crucial. They will provide such information as name, signature, photo and date of birth much like a traditional ID card. Some supporters of the initiative have pointed to additional benefits of the cards for others who are living on the outskirts of the community such as homeless and convicts that have recently been released from prison.

Sara Cullinane of Make The Road New Jersey has stressed these phot ID badges as being “extremely important.” Without proper identification, an individual will not be able to open a bank account or receive any societal or government benefits for which they might have eligibility.

Municipal ID Cards Face Opposition

At the present time, these cards do have their limitations. For individuals that are living outside of a community that is issuing the cards, there are restrictions in terms of validity. They are still helpful if a police officer were to ask to see identification, but they are not considered to be valid when attempting to pass through security at an airport or for the purchase of a gun or alcohol.

Also, not everyone agrees that this photo ID badge program is a good thing. When the city of New York was taking this type of program into consideration, state Sen. Terrence Murphy verbalized to the Yorktown Daily Voice that he felt this program was essentially “incentivizing lawbreaking.” He went on to say that there was risk of it becoming a “feeder program” for potential terrorists to get well established into a community.

Municipal ID Cards Across the US

Though these municipal photo ID badge programs have previously been established in more immigrant rich locations, the desire for such programs have increased even in areas that aren’t as immigrant heavy. For instance, Megan Barry, Nashville, Tennessee’s Mayor was a public supporter of municipal photo ID badges. Each of the other six opposing mayoral candidates at the time of Barry’s election were noted as being supporters as well. Additional considerations are coming from areas like Miami-Dade County, Detroit and Charlotte, N.C. Leaping out of the consideration stage, however, was Johnson County, Iowa when they launched their ID card program over the summer.

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