Passaic Will Also Issue Municipal IDs

City Council President Gary Schaer announces that Passaic will also issue a municipal identification card. With him, Ray Carrera, of Mexican descent, from the Board of Education. (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

City Council President Gary Schaer announces that Passaic will also issue a municipal identification card. With him, Ray Carrera, of Mexican descent, from the Board of Education. (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

[Editor’s update: Citing concerns about putting immigrants at risk of deportation,  Mayor Hector Lora of Passaic NJ announced in March 2017 that Passaic will not issue municipal IDs.]

Last Sunday, as hundreds of Mexicans raised flags of their country and the U.S. to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day in Passaic, New Jersey, City Council President Gary Schaer announced that the local government has started the process of creating a municipal identification card for its immigrant residents.

Schaer thanked Passaic’s Mexican community – one of New Jersey’s largest – which consists mostly of people born in the state of Puebla.

“In the last nine months, the City Council has been working alongside our city’s mayor, Alex Blanco, to find a way to issue a municipal ID for our population,” said Schaer in English, as Board of Education member Ray Carrera, of Mexican descent, translated. Schaer’s proposal was applauded by the crowd. The ID cards are expected to be ready in six months.

For his part, Passaic’s Mayor Alex Blanco, a podiatrist, said that the process is being carried out carefully to ensure that it will be done correctly. Still, he said that most of the members of the Council agree with the proposal and that its approval is imminent. “It’s in the works. We are researching what other municipalities have done so that we can do it without breaking any laws or going against what they have done,” the mayor told Reporte Hispano. “We want to replicate the actions of the other municipalities and, if possible, even do it a little better.”

Blanco denied claims that immigrants in Passaic are not allowed to open businesses because of their status. “The proof is that we have several Mexican small businesses. They are a hardworking community to whom we cannot close our doors,” said Blanco.

The mayor added that the card will be a valid form of identification issued by the city of Passaic. He added that members of the Mexican community will be able to receive it in addition to the ones they obtain through organizations such as Mi Casa es Puebla, which offers guidance to fellow nationals who need to obtain birth, school and baptism certificates.

“We are blessed to have Mi Casa es Puebla in Passaic, as well as the Mexican Consulate on Wheels, who come by every two weeks and issue documents that serve as identification,” said Blanco.

Nicolás Aguilar, a businessman from Puebla and member of the Passaic Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce, said that the card will be useful for the community. “It is something that people who lack identification really need. In my view, it will simplify the lives of many immigrants,” he said. “It is the same as they have done in Newark and New York, and, since the city will issue it, it will have more weight, because the police, banks, etc. will accept it.”

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