CityKey program aims to 'unlock' doors for the undocumented
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing forward with his “CityKey” plan created in part to bring undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows.”
Under the CityKey program, a city-issued municipal identification card will pave the way for anyone living in the city to get state ID cards, no matter their immigration status, with Emanuel heralding the program as a “welcome to undocumented citizens in the city.”
The Chicago Sun-Times has reported the plan has already been approved by alderman and the cards, which will double as Ventra (bus pass) and library cards, will be available citywide in March following a public education campaign and a first-quarter test to “ensure security.”
Enrollment will be free for the first 100,000 applicants, followed by a $10 fee. Altogether, the city has committed to setting aside $2 million to jump-start the program.
But critics argue the biggest payout of all could be the assurance city officials have made to undocumented immigrant applicants guaranteeing them that their personal information will not end up in the hands of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials looking to enforce immigration laws.
During a recent Fox News segment, 38th Ward Alderman Nick Sposato openly expressed his fears.
“I’m worried about fraud,” he said. “Who’s going to get these; who’s going to say who they are; who’s going to vouch for them. Can somebody walk in and just say ‘I’m John Smith’ and get these. I think it’s about trying to please a certain demographic in the city.”
At a recent press conference, Emanuel countered those fears by arguing what started off as a plan to “help the undocumented community feel not locked out, but part of the city” has broadened to include returning veterans, the homeless, ex-offenders and domestic violence victims, all of whom will also be eligible for the city-issued cards.
“The CityKey will bring all those different communities and more that are on the periphery, on the sideline, into our city,” Emanuel said at the press conference. “And when we say, `Welcome,’ we mean, `Welcome.’”
Yet to be determined is if the cards will make the holder eligible to buy alcohol and vote. To secure the cards applicants will need to produce documents that total four points — three points for identity and one for residency. Applicants also will be able to self-designate their gender.
Seniors citizens 65 and older will be eligible to get the cards for free and the cards will be available to those 17 and younger for $5. The fee will also be waived for low-income and homeless Chicagoans, veterans, victims of domestic violence and participants in the One Summer Chicago jobs program.