While Donald Trump has used the issue of illegal immigration to get to the top of the presidential nomination polls for the Republican Party, a program to give municipal identity cards to undocumented immigrants in New Jersey and beyond is gaining more widespread acceptance.
The latest community set to adopt the ID cards is Roselle, with the cards also being considered in other New Jersey communities such as Highland Park and Perth Amboy. The cards are already in Asbury Park, Freehold, Newark and Trenton, and Morris and Mercer counties. The cards provide basic identity points for people, such as their name, photograph, date of birth and signature line, and are often vital for those who are unable to obtain other forms of government ID such as passports and driver’s licenses.
Supporters of the program say that the ID cards can be of benefit to anyone but are of particular use to those on society’s fringes, such as ex-convicts, runaways and the homeless. Sara Cullinane from the civil rights and immigration organization Make The Road New Jersey says that it is “extremely important” to help undocumented immigrants who are not even allowed a driver’s license to feel part of the community.
Individuals without ID are unable to access government services, open a bank account or obtain commercial discounts for which they would otherwise be eligible.