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New Haven First: Illegal Immigrant IDs

Posted Jul 23, 2007 2:03 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Taking an alternative approach to a deluge of illegal immigrants that has prompted some municipalities to crack down, a large college town in Connecticut is instituting a controversial first-in-the-nation program to offer them identification cards.

Starting tomorrow, illegal immigrants in New Haven can get city-issued ID cards that will let them use municipal services, such as libraries, and give them a chance to open bank accounts, reports Reuters. Supporters say the program--which is the first of its kind in the country, according to the news service--will help improve public safety and give all residents access to the same services.

"Backers and detractors alike say the program appears to fill a vacuum after Congress failed to act on immigration reform, leaving many towns and cities to struggle with how to deal with a growing undocumented population," the article states. For example, illegal immigrants are often targeted as robbery victims, because they tend to carry cash. One reason why: they can't open bank accounts, at least in part due to a lack of identification.

New Haven is home to Yale University, and Yale Law School helped promote the new program by providing legal services.

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