Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New Haven to Provide IDs for Illegal Immigrants

Plan Praised by Latino Leaders, Derided by Immigration Opponents

There is very little that's new in the debate over immigration. The times, people and places change, but the ideas and positions do not. One side wants to limit immigration and punish those who don't abide by immigration law, while the other wants to embrace immigrants and provide them with as much help as possible. In a nutshell, one side wants to keep them out of society, while the other wants to draw them further in.

The latest, closest go-around has New Haven mayor and gubernatorial candidate John DeStefano proposing municipal ID cards for illegal immigrants, so that they might gain better access to city services.

"Let’s be real about why this is happening first of all," said the mayor, who is also a gubernatorial candidate, during a bilingual press conference in City Hall. "The failure of the federal government to recognize and embrace thousands and thousands of hard-working residents, is subjecting those people and their families to abuse and exploitation," he said.
"All of these people are hard-working, decent members of our society on which we depend everyday," DeStefano said. "We can do better by them and we have to make up some of it as we go along." (Bromage)

This has predictably raised the ire of a Connecticut anti-immigration group.

"Does anybody in New Haven understand that they are breaking the immigration law?" said Elise Marciano, Danbury chapter president of the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control.

"You are not supposed to aid and abet illegal aliens." (Bromage)

Both positions are correct. Illegal immigrants are here, well, illegally. Should we not abide by the law? But DeStefano is also correct in recognizing that illegal immigrants are in fact dwelling in his city in great numbers, and that the law isn't likely to make them vanish any time soon. Instead of attempting to remove the illegal immigrants from New Haven, the city will try to draw them into more legitimate society.

Both sides ignore a vital part of the problem. No ID card will make illegal immigrants legal ones, and no amount of pontificating about the law and illegal immigrants will make them leave. So is this the right thing to do? It's almost impossible to say.

The only things that are clear about this plan is the controversy it's going to cause, and that, at most, it's only part of a larger solution to the problem of illegal immigrants.

Bromage, Andy. "City to offer ID for illegal aliens." New Haven Register 4 October, 2005.


ctblogger said...

One comment,

The Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control is simply a hate group. I'm from Danbury and believe me, this group of people are not interested in addressing the immigration issue at all. Their only solution is to get rid of all immigrants period. Have you heard about the groups so-called racist "survey" they did on McDonalds (or MexDonalds as they call it)?

I don't understand why people give this group of extermists the time of day. Their mission is not to address the issue, it's to exploit it for their own gain. They get in the way with anyone who wants to have a meaningful disscussion on the issue and are a waste of time.

My two cents from someone who has to deal with their stupidity in Danbury.

FrankS said...

For the City of New Haven to create a central record, that INS or other federal officials could easily access, could expose individuals to greater sanctions not better access to services or community involvement.

It meaningless to banks and other financial concerns require social security numbers for tax reporting, so the New Haven ID cannot be accepted and another ID also raises all the concerns surrounding a false ID and it's uses.

If the Mayor is aware and was concerned about exploitation, he should direct the City's police, building code and health code enforcement authorities at the explioters, the people who use these individuals for cheap labor, wharehouse them in homes or physically abuse them.

Anonymous said...

FrankS is correct. To further his point Employers are required to fill out an I-9 Form for every hire that documents his/her legal status to work ( even if you grew up next door to the person). Failure to do so subjects employers to serious penalties so legit companies can't accept this ID. ID or not these people are still left working under the table.

Aldon Hynes said...

There seems to be a lot of misinformation about Mayor DeStefano’s Hablamos Español Initiative and I’d like to add a few comments on it.

First, the news is talking about New Haven providing identification for ‘illegal immigrants’. This starts off by casting the whole discussion in a negative light. It goes against one of the basic foundations of our government that people are innocent until proven guilty. Why do we automatically assume that someone who doesn’t have common forms of identification like passports or driver’s licenses, both of which cost a fair amount of money, are somehow ‘illegal’. I have plenty of friends that are citizens, non-latino, and do not have the standard forms of identification that State or Federal agencies issue.

A better way to look at it is that the city is looking for ways to make it easier for residents who currently do not have sufficient identification to get the identification they need to get fuller services from the city and from banks and businesses in the city. Anonymous raises the question of whether of not the City issued identification will count for I-9 forms. I believe they will, but I don't have the details.

More importantly, the Hablamos Español Initiative is focused on making important documents from City Hall available in Spanish, as well as expanding opportunities to people who speak Spanish as their primary language to speak with people in city hall. This includes information about traffic, parking, taxation, and vital statistics.

All of this said, I would like to invite you to the discussions over on the DeStefano Blog. We should all try to find ways work together to help people who are different from us.

Genghis Conn said...

The story made CNN (Lou Dobbs), although they made their usual hash of it. Dobbs did his best to make Mayor "Stefano" and New Haven look like a hotbed of liberal lunatics.

The language piece is good.

Anonymous said...

New York Times Article on community reactions.


Anonymous said...

ctBlogger...it's not an "immigration" issue; it's an issue of being here ILLEGALLY.