Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday unveiled an example of the municipal ID card he wants to offer to people in this country illegally and others as part of his stand against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, though it will be some months before most Chicagoans can get it.
The mayor appeared with Clerk Anna Valencia to show what the “CityKey” IDs will look like and let a select group of Chicagoans get them printed on special machines in the clerk’s office. If nothing else, that allowed Emanuel to be able to say he met a deadline he set to issue the first such card by the end of 2017.
Officials offered no specific date for when the public at large will be able to line up for the IDs, which cardholders will be able to use for most city services. Valencia’s office said in a news release that the cards will be available in March.
And while Emanuel on Thursday stressed the work the city is doing to make the municipal card appealing to people other than those who have trouble getting state ID cards — such as those in the country illegally, homeless people and those recently released from prison — it’s still unclear exactly what types of broader benefits the ID will provide.
The city previously announced residents will be able to use the IDs in place of both Chicago Public Library cards and CTA Ventra fare cards. Valencia also hopes to be able to announce deals with cultural institutions to allow cardholders to get discounts or other perks. Those have not yet been revealed, though Valencia said Thursday that the city would announce such discounts in early 2018.
The first 100,000 cards issued next year will be free, Valencia said. It remains to be seen whether the Chicago program approaches that number. While New York issued about 1 million IDNYC cards in two years, just 30,000 people received SF City ID Cards in San Francisco between 2009 and early 2017.
After the initial giveaway, Chicago’s cards will cost $10 for adults and $5 for those age 17 and younger. Seniors will be able to get the cards free, as will former prison inmates, domestic violence survivors and military veterans.
On Thursday, Valencia released a list of the documents the city will accept from people to establish their identities and residency. Along with driver’s licenses and state IDs, applicants will be able to show expired foreign passports, foreign driver’s licenses, high school or GED diplomas, and dozens of other forms as a means of helping establish identity. Some documents are worth more than others toward proving a person’s ID.
To prove city residency, applicants will be able to show jury summonses, IRS forms, bank account statements and several other documents with Chicago addresses.
The documents question has been controversial, especially after two New York Republican lawmakers sued last year to try to prevent Mayor Bill de Blasio from destroying applicants’ personal information. The lawmakers argued it was a security risk to allow people city services and the ability to open bank accounts without more extensive background checks.
The lawsuit failed, but it raised red flags among immigrants’ rights groups concerned the federal government could get their hands on applicants’ names and addresses and use them to deport people in the country illegally.
To counter that fear among those in the country illegally, Chicago’s City Hall has pledged not to keep copies of any of the personal information applicants present. Valencia said her office is working with banks to allow people to use the city IDs to open checking accounts.
Emanuel budgeted about $1 million this year and another $1 million in 2018 toward the program as he seeks to bolster his standing in the city’s Hispanic community ahead of a 2019 re-election run.
Some aldermen have called the municipal IDs a waste of money, saying the state should tackle the issue instead. Far South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, said Thursday he doesn’t think many Chicagoans will go through the trouble of getting them.
“The people in the shadows that they’re trying to bring out of the shadows are not going to come out for a glorified library card and a Ventra card,” Beale said while talking to reporters at City Hall.
The local firm Omicron Technologies will handle the software and printing on machines that can put names and addresses on the cards without keeping records. The firm, which has handled ID work for Chicago Public Schools and the CTA, will be paid $365,000 for the first year and $134,400 in subsequent years of a five-year contract, according to Valencia spokeswoman Kate LeFurgy.
Omicron faced questions about unpaid income taxes while the company was working for the school district, but the city Procurement Department said the company is currently in good standing.Chic
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