Immigration Law

New Haven First: Illegal Immigrant IDs

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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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