City of Reading to adopt municipal IDs
Make the Road Pennsylvania, an organization that advocates for low-income and working-class Latino immigrants, held a press conference Wednesday in support of establishing a municipal ID in the city of Reading.
Community leaders and elected officials— including former Reading Mayor Tom McMahon— attended the meeting to express their support for the proposed legislation. They discussed the benefits it could bring to the residents and economy of the city.
Should the legislation pass, locally-issued government IDs will be provided to the homeless, formerly incarcerated, undocumented immigrants, and others who may not have a form of identification. This allows unidentified residents to also participate in civil life such as collecting a package at the post office, opening a bank account, or even seeing a doctor.
The call for municipal IDs in Reading could also generate up to $130,000 in net income to the impoverished city, according to Make the Road PA.
Reading is the most recent Pennsylvania city to consider the service. Last November, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval for a study that will test the feasibility of creating a municipal identification card; and in late February, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez introduced a municipal bill to Philadelphia City Council and received support from elected officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney.
Critics have said that the municipal ID program is a threat to public safety:
“They’re a terrible idea for public safety because [the cities] are not able to actually verify the identity of the people that they’re issuing these cards to. So, anyone can get one” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies in a YouTube video.
However, a number of cities have already adopted the municipal ID program including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Trenton. Many other cities are exploring the possibility of issuing similar ID cards to their residents.