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Municipal ID ordinance passes Chicago City Council 44-4
by Matt Simonette
2017-04-19

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The Chicago City Council, on April 19, passed a measure allowing for the introduction of municipal identification cards. The measure, which was officially announced in late March by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, passed 44-4.

Emanuel, along with City Clerk Anna Valencia and, previously, former City Clerk Susana Mendosa, have pushed the idea of municipal ID cards since Fall 2016. Valencia will design the program, which city officials say will launch in late 2017. They estimate it will cost about a million dollars to implement.

Municipal ID cards have been made available in numerous cities, among them New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. They have sometimes proven to be controversial, however, since they ostensibly could offer a means by which authorities could keep track of undocumented individuals, many of whom would presumably comprise a substantial constituency for the cards. Philadelphia officials, in February, halted its municipal ID program for fear of federal officials accessing city records. Chicago officials, for their part, said that the city would keep records of applicants' names but not their addresses or other vital records information; how applicants will be able to prove their residence has yet to be determined.

All Chicago residents would be eligible for the ID, regardless of of immigration or housing status, criminal record or gender identification and would be accepted by all city departments. The card would also allow transgender individuals to select the marker of the gender with which they identify.

Alds. Anthony Beale ( 9th ), David Moore ( 17th ), Nicholas Sposato ( 38th ) and Anthony Napolitano ( 41st ) voted against the measure in the April 19 City Council hearing.

Chicago Commission on Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega said regarding the vote, "I'm pleased that the City of Chicago continues to be at the forefront of creating solutions, in this case recognizing difficulties immigrant, the formerly-incarcerated, the homeless and the transgender communities have in securing identification that allows for them to participate in the many services that are available with proper identification."


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