The Columbus Dispatch.
Thanks to Dispatch Reporter Rita Price for her July 2 article about a young woman who is a U.S. citizen but still has been unable to obtain a state ID because her mother is undocumented.
She is far from alone in Columbus. A study commissioned by the Columbus City Council estimates there are more than 80,000 Columbus residents who either struggle to obtain or simply cannot obtain a secure photo ID. Without an ID people can’t apply for work or start businesses, open bank accounts, enter public buildings or do many other things those with ID tend to take for granted. ID equals opportunity.
In the past 12 years, dozens of U.S. cities including Providence, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York have established secure local municipal ID programs. A municipal ID validates a person’s identity and residence. It cannot be used to board an airplane or to drive but increases opportunity in many other ways, particularly for the most vulnerable.
The Columbus Police Department has opposed the creation of a municipal ID that would be available to undocumented residents. This is unfortunate. The chief of police in Providence has asserted that their local ID program has made his city safer. New York City, which has issued more than 1.3 million local IDs in the past four years, is the safest big city in the United States and the NYPD was involved from the beginning in the planning and design of New York’s Municipal ID.
It is time for the Columbus City Council to do the right thing and establish a Columbus municipal ID.
Ed Hoffman, Columbus