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Detroit will start issuing municipal ID cards

Detroit skyline seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
flickr user Bernt Rostad
City of Detroit.

Detroit is joining the growing list of U.S. cities that issue municipal ID cards to residents.

The Detroit City Council approved an ordinance that sets up a city-issued ID program Tuesday.

“It is the city's intent that municipal identification cards will provide residents with an additional means of proving their residency in the citv for purposes of accessing citv programs, services, and activities, and providing identification to law enforcement,” the ordinance states.

Up to 30% of Detroit residents lack either the documents or standing needed to obtain state-issued ID.

They include returning prisoners, the transient or homeless, undocumented immigrants, and some elderly residents.

But many of those people will qualify for a city ID card. And supporters say that will help open up a world of basic opportunities, from bank accounts to renting apartments.

Council member Raquel Castañeda Lopez, who spearheaded the effort, says the program also signals that “we are welcoming to all, both old and newcomers to the city of Detroit.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan agreed.

"This move helps our community’s most vulnerable, from our homeless to the elderly to undocumented immigrants. Everyone in our city will now be able to do the things that many of us take for granted, whether it's getting a library card, opening a bank account or accessing city services,” Duggan said in a statement.

The city plans to start issuing IDs in the fall.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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