Government

New Brunswick Approves City ID Program to Applause from Residents

4281a99e716528f2221d_municipal_id_3.jpg
Residents and activists showed up to the New Brunswick City Council's June 7 meeting to support the budding municipal ID card program.
4281a99e716528f2221d_municipal_id_3.jpg

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 Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - June 15, 2018

JERSEY CITY - Should topless women be allowed in the city?  That's the big issue consuming the City Council these days, as members continue to debate 1980s-era obscenity laws. There was supposed to be a vote at the council meeting on Wednesday, but it didn't happen. Before there is a vote, it appears the goal is to wrangle support of all nine members of the City Council. The nagging ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 14, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD - The typical sports fan in New Jersey has until 2026 to get excited about professional soccer. That's because the Meadowlands could be the epicenter of the soccer world, a contender to host the World Cup. It could be  an amazing coup for New Jersey, although expect worldwide marketers to try to convince everyone that the big game would be played in "New ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 13, 2018

ATLANTIC CITY - When the Hard Rock Café and Casino opens June 28, a strip club will also open on the property. But this isn't your typical, dark titty bar. No, it is 36,000 square feet of space, about the size of a typical Marshalls. So, figure the place is wall-to-wall strippers, each jiggling for money. That could equal about 300 jiggles per minute on a ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 12, 2018

STATEWIDE - Perhaps it is time for the state to upgrade to Windows 95, as the second big computer crash in a week spelled disaster for the state's computer systems. The biggest hit came to the state's Motor Vehicle agencies, jamming efforts to renew driver's licenses, or for people to get titles or register vehicles. This mess somehow made the lines at the MVC even longer, the ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 11, 2018

MANTUA - Ever hear of the Wenonah Police Department? Neither did we, but it doesn't really matter because it no longer exists. At 12:01 a.m. on June 1, the department officially disbanded, with the 2,200 residents of this speck of a town in Gloucester County now being protected and served by the Mantua Police Department - other cops we've never heard about. It was high time for the ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 7, 2018

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Consider it a wake-up call for Political Action Committees that don't file paperwork. The state's campaign financial watchdogs have slapped the "Central Jersey Democratic Leadership Committee" with more than $120,000 in fines for not reporting more than $100,000 in donations between 2005-2010. Left holding the bag for the non-defunct PAC is Union ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b461bcb5f4e452996ec4_juneteenth_poster

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

Mt Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, New Brunswick

Juneteenth - a Day of Remembrance

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, June 21, 8:00 PM

New Brunswick

Sing-a-Long Grease: 40th Anniversary

Rutgers-led “Tick Blitz” finds exotic Longhorned Ticks statewide

June 5, 2018

New Brunswick, N.J. - Researchers at  University–New Brunswick’s Rutgers Center for Vector Biology have found exotic longhorned ticks in four New Jersey counties – and confirmed that these northeast Asian ticks have been present in the Garden State since at least 2013.

The new detection of these ticks in Mercer County was made through the first-ever statewide ...

Rutgers football stadium has a new name

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Many still call it Rutgers Stadium.

But for seven years, the university's football stadium has been known as High Point Solutions Stadium, thanks to a $600,000 annual agreement with a Sparta-based company. But, as the company has shifted its marketing, so has the stadium's name.

So, now, Rutgers is officially home to "HighPoint.com Stadium" for the 2018 ...

Composer lyrisicist Sondheim at Rutgers, tells would-be writers ‘it’s hard work’

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Acclaimed Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim says his work is less about talent and more about the labor and drudgery of “hard work.”

“It’s not about waiting for inspiration. It’s not about talent,” Sondheim said Friday while speaking before an audience at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center.

“You ...

Couple netted $8M from fake Uggs, designer bags, prosecutor says

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Plainsboro couple could face charges of of selling counterfeit designer shoes and handbags, netting $8 million and sending $3 million to people in China, authorities said today.

Yan Shi, 36, and her husband, Weiping Liu, 40, were arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree money laundering and second-degree conspiracy to violate the New Jersey Trademark ...

OPINION

Hearing Loss Common in School-Aged Children

May 30, 2018

With close to 15% of U.S. children ages 6–19 experiencing hearing loss, New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) notes that May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

“Some children are born ...

Promise Culinary School Slates Open Houses June 21 and 22 In New Brunswick with Tours, Tastings, Prizes

June 15, 2018

Promise Culinary School will host open houses for the community and prospective students on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5  to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at 211 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. The events are free and open to the public.

The events will include kitchen tours, demonstrations, tastings, raffles and prizes. Tours and activities ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...