Other NJ News

New Brunswick Approves City ID Program to Applause from Residents

Residents and activists showed up to the New Brunswick City Council's June 7 meeting to support the budding municipal ID card program.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The city expects 1,500 people to apply for municipal identification cards within the first six months of the program, which gained approval last week after roughly a year and a half in the making, according to officials.

The New Brunswick City Council adopted an ordinance establishing the city ID program on June 7, before a crowd of activists and immigrants. Many held signs in support of the initiative, some urged the council to green-light the ordinance and all applauded its approval.

“Most of us take for granted being able to identify ourselves, and we do not realize how often we are asked for picture ID,” said Bob Belvin, head of New Brunswick’s library, which will run the program. “But for seniors, domestic violence survivors, the homeless and young people, as well as the undocumented, having a convenient method of identification is vital.”

Sign Up for E-News

The city’s fledgling municipal ID program is expected to launch, at the latest, by September, officials have said. It will make ID cards available to anyone living in New Brunswick, including homeless people and undocumented immigrants.

The ordinance requires all city agencies to accept the municipal ID cards as proof of an individual’s identity and residency, according to the document. That will help them access city services and benefits, the document states.

Only when a city agency suspects fraud or a legal violation may it deny a person’s ID card, according to the ordinance.

“The most important thing about a municipal identification card is that people have faith in it,” Belvin said, referencing both cardholders and those who accept it.

Activists and members of New Brunswick’s immigrant community—who began exploring the idea in January 2016—said the program will help people receive services from clinics, hospitals, banks and other institutions that sometimes don’t accept ID from their home countries.

“Sometimes, unfortunately even when they do accept it, perhaps people who are prejudiced see that and look down upon it,” a woman affiliated with the Esperanza Project and Unity Square said, speaking through a translator.

Walter Herres, an advocate for the city’s homeless, said the municipal ID program may offer the most marginalized residents a chance to access services, get shelter and ultimately “transcend homelessness.”

After the council adopted the ordinance, the standing-room-only crowd erupted in applause. A young boy shouted “thank you" to the governing body.

Photo courtesy of the Esperanza Neighborhood Project

In order to obtain a city ID card, applicants must submit any number of documents to prove both their identity and residency, according to the ordinance. The city’s library plans to implement a point system to score each document.

Acceptable documents include a range of ID cards issued by the U.S. and New Jersey. What’s more, a number of IDs or documents from foreign countries will also work, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance also provides a path for homeless people and victims of domestic violence who live in the city to obtain an ID card. An organization through which an applicant receives services must provide a letter showing that it has provided care to the person for at least 15 days, according to the ordinance.

Residents must be at least 14 years old to qualify or a municipal ID card, according to the document.

Each applicant’s personal information will be kept confidential, barring a court order, according to the ordinance. In the document, city officials stressed the need to “make best efforts to protect the confidentiality” of applicants.

Each New Brunswick ID card will be valid for two years and include the resident’s name, head shot, address and date of birth, along with issuance and expiration dates, according to the city.

In an effort to deter fraud, security measures, such as bar codes, serial numbers and watermarks, may appear on the cards, according to the ordinance.

A card will cost $20 for adults and $7 for kids, veterans, people with disabilities and senior citizens, according to the document.

Residents who meet at least one of several criteria may receive a “hardship exception waiver,” the ordinance states. That will apply to homeless people, domestic violence victims, people who receive government benefits and those with a household income that’s no more than 15 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the proposal.

Belvin, the library director, said hardware to launch the program will cost “well over $20,000,” a tab that includes the cost of a $9,000 machine that verifies documents. Existing library staff will manage the municipal ID program, city officials said.

The library plans to make application appointments available 25 hours per week once the program kicks off, Belvin said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

New Jersey Blood Services Declares Blood Emergency

June 26, 2017

New Jersey Blood Services Declares Blood Emergency

NJBS urges the public to donate to replenish the community’s critically low blood supply.
 

New Brunswick, NJ (June 26, 2017) –New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) and its parent company,  New York Blood Center (NYBC) has declared a blood emergency and is asking the public to please find time to donate blood at a NJBS ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_0e040b5406ebe31d443d_spb-4398_june_newsletters_june_27

Tue, June 27, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

Sports

Carousel_image_490acb3d54cb805e2a73_spb-4398_june_newsletters_june_28

Wed, June 28, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

Sports

Suspicious Package Causes Alarm at Route 18 Air Force Recruiting Station

June 26, 2017

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At around 10:30 a.m., East Brunswick police were contacted by the United States Air Force Recruiting Station on Route 18 south with the report of a "suspicious package" left at the office doorway.

Police, firefighters, the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, emergency medical responders and vehicles from the Department of Homeland Security then ...

Have You Seen This Missing New Brunswick Man?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — No one has seen Michael Drew since March.

And now, New Brunswick cops want you to help find him.

Drew, a 61-year-old African American, is 5 feet and 9 inches tall and roughly 155 pounds, police said. The department said he’s known to hang out around Commercial Avenue and Sanford Street.

Drew collects scrap metal, according to police. He also frequents the ...

Community Rallies to Help Piscataway Man Critically Injured in House Explosion

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Joseph Keleman’s gofundme campaign is trending because in the past four days, 54 people have raised $4,290 of the $50K goal for the Piscataway resident who was critically injured after his home exploded early Sunday morning, June 11. 

"The force of the blast completely leveled the home which was fully engulfed in flames by the time fire fighters arrived ...

At Rutgers, a History of Conservatism Intertwined with Controversy

Editor’s note: This story is the fourth in a five-part series on the Rutgers Conservative Union. Through that lens, TAPinto New Brunswick intends to provide a comprehensive look at an energetic year of on-campus activism at New Jersey’s flagship university. The third part is available here.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — As the clock ticked closer to 10 p.m., the ...

County and Activists Defend Middlesex Policy Against Attacks from ICE

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Since Middlesex County adopted a policy forbidding, in most cases, its jail and sheriff’s department from aiding immigration authorities, the feds, national right-leaning media and local Republicans have come out against the move.

But the backlash has also re-energized the pro-immigrant activists who pushed the county to adopt the policy in the first place.

Two Dead After Car Goes Off GSP into Rahway River

CLARK, NJ — Two people are dead after one-car crash on the Garden State Parkway Friday morning around 10:45 a.m. The names of the victims have not been released.

“The vehicle went off the road on the right-hand side and was submerged in water. The right two lanes of the parkway are closed for investigation and will be for some time,” Lieutenant Schafer of the ...

Suspicious Package Causes Alarm at Route 18 Air Force Recruiting Station

June 26, 2017

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At around 10:30 a.m., East Brunswick police were contacted by the United States Air Force Recruiting Station on Route 18 south with the report of a "suspicious package" left at the office doorway.

Police, firefighters, the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, emergency medical responders and vehicles from the Department of Homeland Security then ...

Have You Seen This Missing New Brunswick Man?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — No one has seen Michael Drew since March.

And now, New Brunswick cops want you to help find him.

Drew, a 61-year-old African American, is 5 feet and 9 inches tall and roughly 155 pounds, police said. The department said he’s known to hang out around Commercial Avenue and Sanford Street.

Drew collects scrap metal, according to police. He also frequents the ...

Community Rallies to Help Piscataway Man Critically Injured in House Explosion

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Joseph Keleman’s gofundme campaign is trending because in the past four days, 54 people have raised $4,290 of the $50K goal for the Piscataway resident who was critically injured after his home exploded early Sunday morning, June 11. 

"The force of the blast completely leveled the home which was fully engulfed in flames by the time fire fighters arrived ...

Suspicious Package Causes Alarm at Route 18 Air Force Recruiting Station

June 26, 2017

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At around 10:30 a.m., East Brunswick police were contacted by the United States Air Force Recruiting Station on Route 18 south with the report of a "suspicious package" left at the office doorway.

Police, firefighters, the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, emergency medical responders and vehicles from the Department of Homeland Security then ...