There are a few counties and cities around the country that have introduced and passed a law giving the counties and cities the ability to issue official government identification cards to illegal immigrants.

In Michigan, Washtenaw County and the City of Detroit have passed laws to give identification cards to illegal immigrants and now a Kalamazoo County Commissioner, Larry Provancher, has proposed the idea for Kalamazoo County to the County Commission yesterday.

According to Commissioner Provancher is basing his proposal on the Washtenaw County law which passed and was implemented in 2014.  The Washtenaw County cards “looks visually similar to a Michigan driver's license, and would be issued to residents who pay a fee to the county clerk's office.”

According to the Mlive article Keta Cowan, chair of the Washtenaw County ID Project, said:

the program has been instrumental in ensuring marginalized residents have access to municipal services. Without an ID card, undocumented immigrants, residents with missing records and the homeless are often unable to open bank accounts, file police reports, obtain insurance, retrieve packages and cash checks

The question I have is what does “municipal services” mean?  Does it mean some sort of taxpayer assistance i.e. welfare.  If so is that fair to Michigan/U.S. citizens or people who are here legally and also need taxpayer assistance.  If we were to give taxpayer assistance to illegal immigrants that would mean there is less money to give assistance to Michigan/U.S. citizens or people who are here legally and is that fair to them.

The other big question is what to do with illegal immigrants who have not broken any of our laws except entering the U.S. illegally.  Is it unfeasible or fair to deport all of them?  I struggle with this question because I do believe it borders on unfeasible to deport all of them but if we were to give them basically amnesty then what do we say to all of the immigrants attempting for years to enter the U.S. legally, the jump the line theory.

Also did you know that if you as an American citizen sponsor someone from another country to come to the U.S. you must sign documentation with the government stating that you are responsible to pay back the government any assistance that the person you sponsor is given via taxpayer dollars?

According to the Mlive article Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller is quoted stating:

People without IDs are an issue, they are afraid of police and can't do business they should. I'm not sure answer is (the county) giving them or working with the state to get it done

Do you believe that this is an issue that should be voted on by the citizens of the municipality requesting these identification cares?

According to Washtenaw County in order to receive a municipal ID card, “a person must be able to show proof of residence and provide proof of identity. Various types of identification documents are valued on a point scale, and residents must provide 300 points worth of identification to qualify. For example, a passport is worth 200 points, while school records like diploma is worth 50 points.”

Also according to Washtenaw County the identification card is assigned a unique identification number and displays a photograph of cardholder, next to their name, date of birth, home address, height, weight, eye color and signature.

Is it legal in the United States for local municipalities and states to issue these types of cards, the answer is yes.  Under federal law, “cities may issue their own identification cards as they see fit, and do not have to consider the immigration or criminal status of an applicant before doing so”.

In Kalamazoo the resolution to establish the Kalamazoo County identification program failed 9-1, due to the fact that the County commissioners felt that this issue was presented too quickly without enough input from community and a more in-depth look into the legality of the cards.  That I believe is a great idea and am happy to hear that the Kalamazoo Commissioners understood this.

This issue must be discussed in more detail with what I believe should be a large amount of input from the community.  This should be an issue that is put up to a vote of the municipalities’ citizens.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.