Philadelphia would launch a municipal-ID program, which would give undocumented immigrants access to a photo ID card that would help them more fully function in society, under legislation to be introduced Thursday to City Council.
The legislation is being introduced by Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and has the support of Mayor Kenney, who while on Council in 2013 co-sponsored municipal ID legislation that failed to gain support.
"There is no question that something must be done to help bring Philadelphians out of the shadows," said Kenney said in a news release. "Our entire city benefits when all of our residents can legally own an apartment, open a bank account, and otherwise participate in our economy and society fully."
Muncipal ID cards have been controversial. Supporters say they give undocumented immigrants greater ability to do things like access city services, check into an emergency room or file a police report. Critics worry they are a stealth path to legal status.
The bill being introduced Thursday would allow any city resident to receive a municipal ID card upon proof of identity and residency. The ID would display a person's photo, name, address and date of birth but not their gender or immigration status.
All city agencies would be required to accept the card. It would prohibit the city from sharing or soliciting the applicant's confidential information.
According to Sanchez's office, the city plans to incorporate best practices from other cities that have already launched successful municipal ID programs, including New York, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"Photo IDs are an essential part of modern life, from opening a bank account to borrowing a library book to checking in at the emergency room," said Sánchez said in the news release. "Municipal IDs will unlock doors so that all Philadelphians can fully participate in our city's vibrant economic and civic life."