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Minneapolis immigrant rights activists tell city council: ‘Municipal ID now!’

By staff |
April 13, 2018
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Minneapolis activists demand Municipal ID.
Minneapolis activists demand Municipal ID. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Minneapolis, MN - On Friday, April 13, in the City Hall rotunda, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) held their third press conference with their coalition partners since the launch of their campaign for ‘Sanctuary Now’ in Minneapolis. Before the meeting of the city council, they demanded urgent action to implement a Municipal ID for Minneapolis residents - one of 13 points in MIRAC’s Minneapolis Sanctuary Platform unveiled on Sept. 20, 2017.

The demand for a Municipal ID as part of the Minneapolis Sanctuary Platform stems from the urgent and immediate need of immigrant communities as well as homeless people, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, students and youth, and others to have the right to access an identification that will enable all people to live in Minneapolis with greater respect and dignity.

Not having any form of identification is a barrier to gaining employment, housing, banking and other forms of participation in society. A Municipal ID can’t guarantee those things, but it removes one barrier. Municipal ID also provides a measure of important protection in interactions with law enforcement, which too often is a gateway for immigrants without any government-issued identification into county jail and then the deportation system. At the same time, a Municipal ID will include benefits for all Minneapolis residents, and activists encourage everyone to get one. A Minneapolis Municipal ID is an important element for building equality in our neighborhoods and in our city.

At the press conference, MIRAC member Daniel Romero said, “MIRAC takes great pride in the fact that two important platform points have already been enacted: U Visa certifications and the creation of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, a new department. In addition, Mayor Frey has told us that several of our other platform proposals have already been completed or are already underway. Today, MIRAC is at City Hall once again, to ensure that the city council and the mayor continue to advance the Sanctuary Now Platform, which moves our city toward becoming in reality the welcoming city that we claim to be. Municipal ID is urgent, and we want the city council to vote on this policy proposal as soon as possible, but no later than June.”

Many of the largest cities around the country have implemented municipal ID programs, with much impetus coming from the immigrant rights movement. The Minneapolis city council is currently debating Municipal ID proposals, which immigrant rights activists in Minneapolis have advocated for more than ten years. A press statement from MIRAC laid out seven key points that they are calling on the city council to incorporate into the Minneapolis Municipal ID:

  • Control – Municipal ID must be controlled and implemented by the city and not privatized
  • Access – Municipal ID must be accessible in all languages spoken in our communities
  • Security – The city must destroy all Municipal ID personal data every six months
  • Reciprocity – We want the city to form agreements with other cities and counties to recognize the Minneapolis ID
  • Confidence - The Municipal ID must be a plastic card with a loadable magnetic strip, not a technological device
  • Funding - Municipal ID program must be funded at a minimum rate of $100,000 per year
  • Priority – Municipal ID is urgent and we want a passing vote before June 2018

After the press conference, organizers and activists presented the above written demands to city council members to guarantee community voices are represented as momentum builds for a Minneapolis Municipal ID.