Roselle votes ‘si’ to giving IDs to immigrants in U.S. illegally
Immigrant advocacy groups are celebrating after Roselle made official a new law allowing any resident to get a municipally issued identification — even if he or she isn't in the country legally.
Representatives of Make the Road New Jersey, an immigrant rights organization in Union County, were among those present Wednesday to see the council pass the municipal ID program.
"Municipal ID cards are an important step toward raising the quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized residents, including immigrants, and Mayor (Christine) Dansereau’s law will make a powerful difference for thousands of Roselle residents," the group wrote in a statement.
Anyone older than 14 will be eligible for a card — including those not eligible for or not able to get driver's licenses. The borough will not decline to offer cards to people living in the country illegally.
"We represent the community. We want everyone in the community, both documented and undocumented, to feel that we in the borough recognize them," Dansereau told New Jersey Advance Media earlier this month.
That story also recounts the difficulties one immigrant family – here without authorization — had in buying life insurance and getting reimbursement for hospital care without an ID.
Last night's vote by the council was unanimous, with Councilman Samuel Bishop youing "absolutely positively yes," as seen in a video recorded by TAPInto Roselle. Council Member Yves F. Aubourg voted "si" to laughter and applause.
"There can be no justice and peace without equality," Dansereau said at the meeting as she signed the ordinance adopting the program. "It's a first step. It's not everything. And we're going to continue fighting until everybody is equal.
Roselle's program follows a similar one in Newark, adopted by its governing body unanimously in May. The programs are similar to New York's IDNYC program, which went into effect earlier this year.
"Increasingly, identification requirements gate-keep almost every aspect of daily life – from opening a bank account to gaining hospital admission, from picking up a package at the post office to picking up your children at school," Make the Road New Jersey wrote in its statement.
James von Bischoffshausen, vice-president and store manager for TD Bank in Roselle, told the crowd Wednesday the cards would be welcome at his branch.
"If you're not already a customer, come on down," he said.
Roselle’s ID program is scheduled to begin issuing IDs during Thanksgiving week.