Last year, in an act of considerable political courage, New Haven began offering a municipal ID card to all residents, including illegal immigrants. The reaction from anti-immigrant forces was predictably ugly. Protesters disrupted hearings, heckled and threatened city officials and tried to intimidate businesses that supported the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The city has held firm. Now opponents are trying to use the state’s Freedom of Information Law to force New Haven to make public the names, addresses and photos of everyone who has an ID card. This would chill — even shut down — the program. The state’s Freedom of Information Commission, which is considering the request, should firmly deny it. The ID card — known as the Elm City Resident Card, from the city’s nickname — enables people to open bank accounts and is accepted by libraries and other municipal services. In the last 10 months, more than 5,600 people, from college students to undocumented workers have obtained them.
New Haven ID Card Carries On Despite Challenges
By Jonathan Adams May 22, 2008