A proposed municipal ID card would benefit a broad spectrum of city dwellers, including immigrants, seniors, homeless, parolees and individuals with a new gender identity.
An ordinance creating a municipal ID program will be up for consideration at Monday's City Council agenda-fixing session and could be up for passage on first reading at the January 19 regular meeting. Final passage might happen by February.
Implementation would then require establishment of a new department to administer the program. Applicants would have to pay a $15 fee ($5 for elders or children over 12) and submit proof of identity and residency using any documents from a wide array listed in the ordinance. All city departments would then accept the cards for services, unless prohibited by state or federal law, and the city would encourage acceptance of the card by banks and other institutions.
The card would contain the holder's name, address, date of birth, eye color, height, gender, emergency contact, home and mobile phone numbers, card issue and expiration dates and a message, "If found, please return to Plainfield Municipal ID Program."
The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice advocates for municipal ID cards and names Newark and Roselle as two municipalities that issue them. Their website has some of the frequently-asked questions about such cards. A local organization had a controversial ID card program in 2013 and more recently, a Latino blog writer pressed the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs to come up with an ID card.
In presenting the ordinance, officials note a "dramatic decrease in robberies/armed robberies against undocumented immigrant workers" in New Haven, Conn. after the implementation of city identification cards there. The cards are described as potentially helpful to displaced youth in addition to residents and immigrants.
The City Council agenda-fixing session is 7:30 p.m. Monday in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.