Paterson looking to start municipal ID program | Paterson Times

Paterson looking to start municipal ID program


The city is looking to start a municipal identification card program which will allow vulnerable populations to obtain photo IDs allowing them to access various city services, according to municipal officials.

“The goal is to have more residents cooperate with the police department and have access to community services,” said assistant corporation counsel Rachel Nguyen to council members on Tuesday night.

“Many marginalized communities lack a valid form of identification,” without which they “are afraid to report crimes to police,” or “cooperate with law enforcement,” according to the resolution before the council to create the municipal ID program.

“Make it clear to me. What will be the benefits?” asked Maritza Davila, councilwoman at-large. The program will benefit the city’s homeless, transgender, indigent, ex-inmates, and others who lack official identification, according to the resolution.

Nguyen said members of marginalized communities will be better able to take part in the civic and economic life of the city by using ID cards. She said IDs will allow residents to open bank accounts, obtain discounts, and other offers from local businesses.

Those marginalized individuals will also have less fear in reporting labor, housing, workplace, health, safety, and wage violations to authorities, according to the resolution.

“There will be a cost for the resident IDs,” said Nguyen. She said the city will charge a fee to issue the ID cards. She also noted the ID program will be tiered so that poor residents are able to obtain the cards without charge.

The IDs will be valid for two years, she said.

The city already has the machine to print the cards and has a roll out plan in place. The program will begin with the enrolment of 1,800 municipal employees.

The program’s start-up cost will have to be covered by the city. It’s not yet clear what the cost will be to run the program.

Health officer Thakur “Paul” Persaud said the city does not plan on hiring new employees for the program.

A resident will have to provide proof of residency and other documents to prove their identities before receiving a card, said officials.

Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, asked what documents he will need to prove his identity, if he were an illegal immigrant.

Proofs could include a foreign passport, said officials.

Persaud said the information that’s collected through the program will be kept in the city’s vital statistics office.

Some council members wondered why the program is not run out of the city’s police department.

Law director Domenick Stampone said similar programs in cities like New Haven and San Francisco are run out of a “neutral arena” so as to overcome the suspicion certain communities have of the police.

“I like the idea. It’s a way they can disclose themselves,” said Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward councilman, referring to illegal aliens.

Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, asked about the technology the city will use to create these cards. He wanted to know whether they will be based on biometric identification so as to have at least a fingerprint on the card.

Stampone said high tech cards, even one with a fingerprint, may cost much more to the city.

Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, who came out in support of granting undocumented immigrants driving privilege, late last year, sought to get the council’s approval for the program last year.

Council members postponed any action on the measure. The measure will not be up for a vote at the regular meeting of the council next week. It was taken of the agenda.

Torres did not return a call for comment on Wednesday morning.

Torres abortively attempted to start the program without going through the council, according to sources.

Municipal ID programs have been used around the country to assist undocumented immigrants to obtain official identification cards.

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  • Plumber

    No one will benefit from this I.D. scheme, just the city of Paterson, who will issue these I.D's for a price, also these I.D.'s will only be honored in the city of Paterson, no other township will accept and honor an I.D. card unless it's issued by a county or state agency. Anyone with the exception of, any person being here (USA) illegally can go to the N.J.D.M.V. or to the County Building in their perspective County and apply for a legit I.D. card. These politicians, anything to make a buck, next they'll be selling snake oil. SMH

  • Plumber

    Also what's the city going to do raise property taxes in order to create a Paterson City Hall I.D. Division, staffed by Joey's folk's making top pay and receiving luscious benefits. I can keep going on.

    • rosepompey

      Joey Torres will have this Historical City sink into bankruptcy , as did Camden and Trenton.

  • Dominick Perez

    This is why we need Donald Trump in there because of clowns like these "leaders" who want to reward criminals who broke into the country and are stealing benefits that should be going to citizens.

    • rosepompey

      Have to agree.
      Paterson residents lives are a living hell because of illegals.
      This is the honest to God feeling of most homeowners.
      People are renting basements, attics, hallways to illegals.
      You have no place to park.
      On my street of 12 houses there are 60 cars parked at night.
      If I don't get home before 5pm, I have to ride and ride for sometime 2. hrs
      to find a park, sometimes blocks away. This is what happens when people don't
      follow the laws of the land.
      There is an epidemic of law-breaking around this illegal immigrant issue.
      This why we now have Donald Trump winning the presidential races.

  • Curiousgeorge

    I agree with your Mr. Plumber. I was at the vital statistics office last week picking up my child's birth certificate i saw three people working 1 was on the phone and other 2 workers were taking applications and were asking what everyone needed that came in the door to get them started with an application. They walk to the back, get these big books. Had to answer the phones so that delayed the processing of my birth certificate. From what i observed that office has no space to house the volume of people expected to come into that small office for additional items. The above article states that the homeless will be able to obtain an id. The next paragraph indicates that " a resident will have to provide proof of residency and other documents
    to prove their identities before receiving a card". What proof of residency will a homeless person have if they are homeless? I think the City Council should vote down the issuance of the id's. Here is another question why is the City buying equipment wasting tax payers money before they even get the programs approved by the Council. For example Mental Health Clinic on the City Council meeting Donna Nelson-Ivy indicated that she had the clinic ready to go. Why was that work done before the Council approved the clinic? What will that office be used for now since the clinic was denied. Here's a suggest if the id program is approved and they have an office not in use why wouldn't they make that the new id office. Against i ask that the City Council vote down the Id program.

  • rosepompey

    This could only happen in Paterson.
    Joey Torres is destroying the city of Paterson.
    He should be ashamed of himself..
    Just another scheme to make money at the expense of the taxpayers.
    The city of Paterson is already drowning in illegals.

    He ( Joey Torres ) is chasing out the taxpayers.
    Living in Paterson is now like living in Laredo, Texas.
    This will only encourage more illegals to come here.
    The quality of life is horrible here right now.
    There is no where to park near my home because people are renting basements, attics,and garages. Don't fool yourself this effects the entire population.

    Who in their right mind would want their town flooded with these illegals? How about encourage them to get their paperwork the old way- the legal way.

    Joey Torres has done nothing to help Paterson Residents and taxpayers.