Thursday, July 26, 2007

Elm City ID Cards

Well Folks:

The City of New Haven has been in the national news recently with regard to our new Elm City ID Card (please note that the card is a multi purpose resident card for ALL of the city's residents).

I posted about this earlier in one of my posts. Since then I have been getting some correspondence looking for clarification of the program. In reading & listening to the general media coverage I see where these questions are coming from.

The short of it is that we are providing a service to the general population as well as a chance for undocumented people to live a safer life here in the city. All of this is at no direct cost to the city.

We are doing this because the Federal Government is not able to come up with an effective and solid immigration policy. We are just dealing with the reality of this inaction.

Following please find an outline of what some of the more common questions are.

Question #1
Why are we issuing "citizenship papers" to undocumented people?

We are not issuing any citizen papers to any one. Only the Federal Government can do that. The only thing that we are doing for undocumented people is to give them a recognized id that will help them get a bank account.

Question #2
Why are we wasting city money to help these people?

The funding from this project is coming 100% from a grant from the 1st Community Bank Foundation (this is the community bank created when New Haven Savings Bank went public).

As a city we feel that putting this program in to effect is important because we have a reality that needs to be dealt with. We have a population of approximately 125,000 people. Of that anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 are undocumented. These people for the most part do not have bank accounts – they therefore carry large amounts of cash. This then makes them targets of criminals who know this and prey on them. In the past year we had 2 murders directly relegated to undocumented people being targeted for their cash. It is not good for any one documented or otherwise to have anyone targeted and attacked in the city.

In addition we hope to create a list of where these people are for in case of an epidemic or an emergency we will now have a way to reach out and control a large part of our population that we did not have in the past.

Our police back this because they never had a true idea of where a large part of the city really lived now we will have a firm idea where they live etc.

Question #3

What is the revenue to the City from:
New City debit card?
New immigrant ID card?

The cards are one in the same.

Everyone pays the $10 fee for adults and $5 for children.The $10 fee gets broken down as follows:$5 - to the city for the card (costs are staffing, equipment, etc.)$5 - on the card for the person to use as a debit card in New Haven and for the Parcsmart meters.

For the kids there is no debit component. In addition no money is given to the 1st Community Bank - the money they gave was 100% grant.
Question #4
I am not an undocumented person – what do I gain from the card?

Every Resident of New Haven will be able to use this card to:
Use our Public Libraries
Your child can have an ID that has emergency contact information along with the rest of the features.
Park for Free at the Public Beaches (now you need to show your car registration that shows you car is registered in New Haven and you will still be able to do it).
Not have to carry change when using a parking meter – you can use the debit feature.
Use your card at over 50 locations downtown. If you are a merchant and want to accept the card as well contact Kica Matos at 946-7909.

In addition to the above you can read the fact sheet from the city here.



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