POUGHKEEPSIE – As protests against ICE and the separation of immigrant families continue across the country and calls to #AbolishICE go mainstream, it’s not always clear what policy can be done at the local level to support the undocumented. That’s where municipal IDs come in.
On Monday, the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council unanimously passed a law to create a municipal ID.
The vote follows months of advocacy for the legislation by Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a member-led immigrant rights and social justice organization based in Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties, in collaboration with members of the City Council and Poughkeepsie community.
The IDs will be available to all City residents and will be particularly valuable for the City’s most vulnerable community members: undocumented immigrants, as well as the homeless, transgender people, youth, the elderly, the formerly incarcerated, and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.
The municipal ID will help those who currently lack government-issued ID interact with the police, pick their children up from school, fill prescriptions, see a doctor, open bank accounts, and use the library.
All residents (including those who already have government-issued ID) will be encouraged to get a Poughkeepsie ID to foster a more united community. The City and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson will work to tie the card to discounts at businesses and other public and private venues in order to help popularize the IDs.
Poughkeepsie is the second municipality in the state with an ID program, after New York City, and one of over 20 nationwide. Poughkeepsie is the first city in the country to pass a municipal ID with a Republican mayor in office.
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is donating ID card-printing equipment to Poughkeepsie to help ensure the program is implemented as soon as possible.
Torrance Harvey, City of Newburgh Mayor, said, “I was very happy and excited to learn that the Poughkeepsie, New York’s Common Council passed a municipal ID Legislation with a unanimous vote yesterday!! I think it is time for this not only in Poughkeepsie but in Newburgh, New York too! This effort is another positive step in the right direction under the current given circumstances in our nation around immigration. Municipal ID cards are essential in this day and age.”
Randy Casale, City of Beacon Mayor, said, “Congratulations to the City of Poughkeepsie. Now that this is done we won’t have to reinvent the wheel, and hopefully we can get this done in Beacon.”
Vianney, a Poughkeepsie resident said, “I’ll feel much safer having a Poughkeepsie ID. All I have now is a Mexican passport. My mom could never pick me or my sister up from school, but now the same thing won’t have to happen to my kids.”