Mayor Emanuel, City Clerk Valencia Introduce Municipal ID Ordinance to City Council

March 29, 2017

Program to ensure all Chicago residents can obtain official identification; ID holders to have increased access to City services, programs & other benefits

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia today introduced an ordinance at City Council to create a Municipal ID program for all Chicago residents, regardless of immigration or housing status, criminal record, or gender identification. The Municipal ID card will be accepted by all City departments as a proof of identification.

“Chicago is and has been a City that welcomes everyone, and an individual’s background should never be a barrier to participating in the economic, social, or cultural life of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With this program, we ensure that all Chicago residents have the identification they need to access vital services.”

Though many vital services require proof of identity and/or address, many populations have difficulty accessing official identification, including undocumented immigrants, homeless individuals, the formerly incarcerated, young adults and the elderly. The Chicago Municipal ID will be available to all City residents, granting them access to City services, cultural institutions, programs, and other benefits.

“At a time when many communities are experiencing setbacks or attacks on their rights, the Chicago Municipal ID program is an initiative where cities can lead by example in reducing barriers, increasing access to opportunities, and empowering residents.” said Clerk Valencia. “Our City is stronger when all communities are participating, and we will continue to explore partnerships that will enable all Chicagoans to take advantage of everything this city has to offer.”

The City will protect the confidentiality of all Municipal ID applications, will not ask applicants about their immigration status, and will not retain copies of applicants’ personal information. Additionally, the Municipal ID program will improve access to valid identification cards to transgender and gender non-conforming Chicagoans by allowing individuals to self-attest their gender.

Clerk Valencia, whose office will be in charge of administering the program, will also develop options for survivors of domestic violence to designate an alternative address, as well as for
homeless individuals to obtain an ID without a fixed address.

“All residents of Chicago, regardless of their past criminal history, should be given the opportunity to start over and access City services, just like their neighbors. This Municipal ID program is a step
in the right direction to equipping residents with the resources necessary to lead productive lives,” said Alderman Walter Burnett.

"This program represents our values and reaffirms that everyone is welcome in this City. Every person in this great City deserves resources and the opportunity to enjoy our libraries, cultural
institutions, and more” said Alderman Daniel Solis. 

“No one should be without city services, and the Municipal ID is a tool that will help us support our most vulnerable populations," said Alderman Ameya Pawar.

To support the program’s implementation, the Mayor’s 2017 Budget allocated $1 million to the program. The first phase of the program, which is currently underway, will identify the scope of services to be provided under the ID program. This phase also includes outreach to financial, medical, and cultural institutions and local businesses that may serve as potential partners. The City expects to issue the first Municipal ID before the end of 2017.

In 2015, Mayor Emanuel formed a working group comprised of people from different backgrounds and perspectives to explore whether a municipal ID program can work in Chicago and how it can be used to help underserved residents access essential City services.

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