JULY 19, 2007
A Connecticut city will become the first in the United States next week to offer official identification cards to illegal immigrants so that they can enjoy public services and integrate into the community.
The controversial measure was overwhelmingly passed by the New Haven Board of Alderman last month and, although it has been publicly challenged, it will be fully implemented by next week.
The city’s estimated 15,000 illegal immigrants have expressed that they will line up to get their government identification cards which will allow them to open bank accounts, access local libraries and enjoy numerous other public services financed by American taxpayers.
This first of a kind program offering legitimate U.S. identification cards to those in the country illegally, contradicts a nationwide trend among municipalities attempting to curb illegal immigration in the absence of federal enforcement.
In fact, 48 state-level measures to curb illegal immigration have been introduced this year alone and more than 100 such ordinances were introduced last year in cities and counties nationwide. Many have been legally challenged by immigration advocates and are pending in the judicial system.
New Haven officials say their controversial new measure was necessary to integrate illegal immigrants into the community and protect them from crime as well as encourage them to report crimes to police. Opponents worry that the program will increase the city’s illegal immigrant population and subsequently strain public services.
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