Minneapolis advances plan for municipal ID cards

November 26, 2018 07:27 PM

A plan to create a program to issue municipal ID cards to Minneapolis residents regardless of immigration status was approved by a Minneapolis city council committee Monday.

Supporters say the program would not only benefit immigrants, but also the homeless, teenage foster children and low-income individuals. They say it would help in a variety of daily situations that often require identification like picking children up from school.


"It's needed because there are a lot of people in the city of Minneapolis who don't have a form of legal identification they can use," Council Member Cam Gordon said.

Gordon said he wants Minnesota's largest city to follow the lead of other large cities across the U.S. that have started the programs. Municipal ID cards are available in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

"They have trouble opening a bank account, trouble enrolling children in school, difficulty filing a police report," Gordon said. "People have said can you make a city ID and we can use that."

The city clerk would administer the program, though many of the specifics regarding how they would be issued are not finalized. The cards would be available to any person who has been in Minneapolis for at least 30 days prior to applying and who is 13-years-old or older. The cards would be valid for four years.

Terrie Thompson came to the meeting from Edina to support the proposal. Thompson said there are a handful of Minneapolis residents who attend Edina Community Lutheran Church who are immigrants who would benefit from the new ID option.

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"The reason I'm here is what we've been doing with immigration is not the right way to go about it," Thompson said. "We think it's important to show this community values its immigrant citizens, residents and we think these IDs are something that would be helpful and very necessary."

There's a chance the ID cards could also double as library cards and mass transit passes. City leaders are still working to determine if there will be a cost associated with getting one and whether the city will need to hire more workers to set up and run the program.

The proposal will now be considered by the full council on Dec 7. Mayor Jacob Frey would also have to approve the ordinance for it to become law and create the program.

Minneapolis has reached out to both Chicago and Northfield for information about how those cities operate municipal ID programs.

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Matt Belanger

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