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Immigrant rights activists celebrate city council vote to create a Minneapolis Municipal ID

By staff |
December 7, 2018
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Representative of MIRAC speaking at Municipal ID press conference.
A representative of MIRAC speaking at the municipal ID press conference. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Immigrant rights activists celebrated as the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously, at their final meeting of the year, December 7 to create a new Minneapolis Municipal ID.

The immigrant rights movement has led the push for creating municipal identification cards in cities around the country, especially within states where immigrants are excluded from obtaining drivers licenses or other official government identification. Minneapolis will be the second city in Minnesota to create a Municipal ID, following Northfield. Other than being useful for immigrants, Municipal IDs are also generally supported by and seen as beneficial to transgender and gender non-binary people, by people with housing instability, and by people too young to get other forms of identification. They often include benefits that are broadly appealing including discounts to cooperating businesses and institutions as well as reciprocal use as a bank card, and for public services such as libraries and public transportation. Many such features are in the works for the Minneapolis Municipal ID, according to speakers at a press conference immediately preceding the City Council meeting.

At the press conference, community activists Victor Ramírez-Juárez of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), Jovita Morales of the Minnesota Immigrant Movement (MIM) and Roxy Anderson of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition spoke about the importance of a Municipal ID to their communities. They spoke along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, city council members Alondra Cano, Cam Gordon, Lisa Bender and Philippe Cunningham and leaders of public and private institutions that have pledged to add features to the Municipal ID to make it broadly appealing and successful.

At the press conference, Jovita Morales talked about the grassroots efforts of the immigrant women’s group Mujeres en Liderazgo that started the movement for a Minneapolis Municipal ID a decade ago, and the long struggle to get to this point. Victor Ramírez-Juárez said, “MIRAC demands a true sanctuary city and the Municipal ID is one important step towards that goal. We thank the city for their progress in achieving accomplishing several of our Sanctuary Platform demands goals, including U Visa reform, establishing an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and ‘Know your ICE rights’ placards in police cars. But there is much more left to be done.” He also made a connection to the struggle against police brutality, expressing MIRAC’s support for creating a Minneapolis Police Accountability Council (MPAC).

Immigrant rights movement activists say next steps will include efforts to expand the Municipal ID victory to other municipalities as well as to win drivers license access for all in Minnesota.