Union City Will Also Issue a Municipal ID

Union City (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

In a clear rupture with former ally Chris Christie and the Republican Party, Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack announced that he will issue municipal identification for the city’s residents.

Stack told Reporte Hispano that the municipal ID will be free of charge, and that documentation required from immigrants and residents who apply for it will consist mainly of one proof of address and one proof of identity.

“It is a simple program to which everyone living in Union City will have access. They will need proof that they live in the city, such as an electric, cable or utility bill in their name, and another one proving who they are,” said Mayor Stack.

He added that the city will not share the applicants’ data with immigration authorities. The program will start on March 1.

Erin Knoedler, the city’s director of operations, added that the information cannot be shared even if a judge requests it, because no record of proof of identity documents that may reveal the carrier’s immigration status will be kept.

“We will only have the name and address of the applicant,” said Knoedler. “We will destroy any document proving the identity of the person, as well as all copies and passport numbers, driver’s licenses, military service booklets or similar.”

Residents of the city expressed their support of Mayor Stack’s announcement. Julio Morales, from Ecuador, said that the document will help residents who are unable to present identification to open a bank account, obtain a library card or pick up their children from school.

“In a town such as Union City where a large number of immigrants live, it was sorely needed because, even though they speak Spanish at the municipal offices, in these new times – when the ruling party is trying to cut down on the presence of immigrants – it has become necessary as a security measure,” he said.

In Julia Huertas’ opinion, it is beneficial for residents like her because it allows them to properly identify themselves when interacting with the local police, the authorities and local agencies, and prevents undocumented immigrants from being scammed by merchants selling identifications for $25 or $50 that carry no official value.

Lastly, the mayor said that the document has the support of the local police.

As a result, Union City joins other cities such as Newark, Elizabeth and Trenton, which have been issuing the document for their residents, except Union City will do it at no charge to the applicant.

After the announcement was made to the press, city commissioners met to approve making Union City a sanctuary city. The status means that the administration and local law enforcement agencies will not participate or collaborate with ICE’s actions in the city.

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