EDITORIAL: New Brunswick is playing its cards well
Municipal ID program for city residents is good initiative
Oftentimes, students here at the Rutgers—New Brunswick campus forget that the entirety of the city does not revolve around the University. In fact, just a few blocks away from the College Avenue campus (where many upperclassmen choose to live) the residential life of New Brunswick can clearly be seen. And within residential New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Free Public Library has decided to create a new Municipal Identification program.
This program will give New Brunswick residents a municipal ID that can be used in all of the city buildings and public schools, and is accepted by the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).
The process of attaining a municipal ID is not difficult in theory. Someone who wishes to obtain one must present six points of valid ID that prove identity and residency within the City of New Brunswick. Aside from serving as a library card that can be used within the New Brunswick Free Public Library, the municipal ID will also provide citizens with a form of proof of residence. Although representatives of the library have not linked the creation of the Municipal ID program to current events, the program could not have come at a better time, as President Donald J. Trump recently ordered to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The end of DACA, which was instated to allow young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children to work legally, could put these 800,000 undocumented immigrants in danger of deportation. This ID card could help provide some sort of security for the undocumented people living in New Brunswick, which has a 49.9 percent Hispanic or Latino population and a 38.3 percent foreign-born population.
Representatives of the library themselves did say that having the municipal ID can benefit undocumented people, homeless people and domestic violence victims. This may be true for undocumented people as the program allows for people to use a foreign passport or birth certificate as points of ID, but the library’s motive to help those who are homeless or victims of domestic violence may be somewhat blurred.
There is a fee of $20 for adult applicants and a $7 fee for children and senior applicants who want a municipal ID. This may not be relatively expensive to the average city resident, but this is a steep price to pay for someone who is homeless. The $20 fee is a lot to pay for an ID that someone may not ever find a use for, especially when that money can go towards something more urgent such as food or clothing and forms of shelter. Also, as stated before, the six point ID verification system requires two points proving residency within New Brunswick. How does a homeless person provide proof of residency? The same problems arise when dealing with people who are victims of domestic abuse. For example, if a domestic abuse victim is on the run, they may not immediately be residents of New Brunswick. This eliminates them from being able to benefit from the program.
The Municipal ID program is a great initiative in practice for undocumented people but only a good initiative in theory for other groups. But the most important aspect of the program is that it shows the efforts of the city to be all-inclusive and to stand by its residents in difficult times. And while Rutgers students may sometimes forget that there is a life past the campus, they should be sure to remember that the city that houses them is one that they should be proud to be a part of.