Detroit city leaders want to issue municipal ID cards to residents who may otherwise be reluctant or ineligible to apply for a state ID, but need identification to get services.
City Council members Raquel Castaneda-Lopez and Mary Sheffield, in partnership with the city's immigration task force and other community organizations, are working to craft the program that they hope will be rolled out within six to nine months, reported the Detroit Daily News.
"We recognize that vulnerable communities and members of the public often face multiple barriers in securing IDs and being able to participate," Castaneda-Lopez said. "The city of Detroit Municipal ID Program would afford these populations a basic human right of recognition as well as provide access to valuable city services, safety and allow them to participate in our community as a whole."
Officials believe about 30 percent of Detroit’s population could benefit from the city-issued cards designed to provide users with greater access to recreation departments, library cards, bank accounts and other "quality of life" services, the Daily News said.
While specific qualifying requirements for Detroit's ID program are still being determined, applicants would not be required to prove citizenship. It would be open to documented and undocumented citizens, Castaneda-Lopez said, as well as people who don't have a permanent residence.
Applicants for state ID cards must visit a Secretary of State office; present proof of a valid Social Security number or a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration; proof of identity, U.S. citizenship or legal presence; and residency.
Castaneda-Lopez noted that more than 25 percent of African Americans struggle to get IDs and 11 percent of the general public—or 34 million individuals—lack a birth certificate or ID credentials.
State ID cards and renewals after four years are $10, but are free for seniors 65 and older, as well as for blind people.
New Haven, Conn., was the first city in the country to establish a municipal ID program. Similar programs are offered in San Francisco and in New York, where an effort rolled out last year has issued more than 400,000 cards.