Phoenix City Council Steps Closer to IDs for Illegal Aliens
The City of Phoenix is steps closer to issuing identification cards for illegal aliens following a 5-4 vote by the City Council to continue to explore such a proposal. (Arizona Central, Dec. 16, 2015) The December 16 party-line vote, which included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton siding with four other Democrats, advanced a “request for information” for companies to come forward with plans on how the card for individuals who have difficulty obtaining a government ID due to their unlawful status would be implemented. (Id.)
As proposed, the card (referred to as the “One Phoenix ID Card”), would include information such as an individual’s name, date of birth, and possibly medical and other emergency information. Supporters also hope the card could be used for other purposes such as a library or debit card, as well as for municipal facilities. (KTAR News, Dec. 17, 2015) It is unclear what kind of information would have to be presented to obtain such an ID in the first place, and city officials say it could not be used to establish lawful presence or to vote. (Arizona Central, Dec. 16, 2015)
Proponents of the IDs for illegal aliens suggest the cards would increase crime reporting. “Because they don’t have an ID, they haven’t reported crimes,” claimed Viri Hernandez with the One Phoenix ID coalition, an organization that has been pushing for the IDs for more than a year. (KTAR News, Dec. 17, 2015) Alessandra Soler with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona echoed these concerns. “Most importantly, municipal IDs create safer neighborhoods by empowering people who are otherwise wary of interacting with the police to report crime,” she said. (Id.)
Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, who opposes the measure, disagrees with this assertion. “Crime victims who do not contact police because they fear being arrested for not having identification do not understand current law. Police are prohibited from demanding you show identification in the absence of evidence that you committed a crime,” he wrote in an op-ed. (Arizona Central, Dec. 10, 2015) “The One Phx ID card would not address this issue, as you are not required to show ID in this scenario in the first place.” (Id.) The Phoenix Police Department confirms it does not require an ID to report crimes. (Arizona Central, Dec. 16, 2015) Councilman Waring also warns that the cards will cost local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Expenditures in San Francisco for a similar card included an $800,000 start-up and $200,000 per year,” he wrote. (Arizona Central, Dec. 10, 2015)
Regardless of the cost, the proposal could end up going nowhere if Republican State Senator John Kavanagh succeeds in pushing legislation to preempt the proposal. His bill, SB 1017, would allow Arizona cities to issue residents cards to access municipal services, but those cards could not be used as a form of identification.