Phoenix could soon issue city I.D. cards for those who can't get state or federal identification

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 22:29:40-04

The City of Phoenix is one step closer to offering a municipal identification card for people who can’t get a driver’s license.

Supporters of the city I.D. believe undocumented immigrants, homeless people and others who can’t qualify for a state or federal identification face unfair hurdles to accessing routine services.

“To go volunteer at your kid’s school, you need an identification. To chaperone, to go eat lunch with them or just to get into school, you need an I.D.,” said Viridiana Hernandez, who is with Puente Arizona.

Puente Arizona is one of dozens of Valley organizations that support the city I.D. idea as part of One Phoenix.  

Hernandez said undocumented people are also hesitant to report crimes or talk to police as witnesses because they don’t have a way to officially identify themselves.

“Being undocumented, the lack of I.D. is definitely a huge barrier to rent a house,” Hernandez said.

 Phoenix city councilman Jim Waring, however, is not on board.

“Basically, this would not provide any more identification than a library card would, or a Costco card,” said Waring, a representative from council district two.

The city I.D. would be a secondary form of identification – meaning, it wouldn't work for getting on a plane, legally driving or accessing any city services outside of Phoenix. 

The normal documents (birth certificate, Social Security Card, etc.) required for a state or federal identification would not be required for the city I.D.

“If you don't have those primary documents, we really have no idea who you are but we're giving you an I.D. that you can wave around that could mislead people in other states,” Waring said.

Despite Waring's opposition, the Phoenix City Council voted to approve negotiations with S.F. Global, a company that would make and issue the city I.D. card. The company has provided a similar service in two California cities and claims it doesn’t cost the city anything. The service is paid for by user fees.

A city panel is researching the options and specifics over the summer and will make a recommendation to the Phoenix City Council. A vote for or against the program could happen as early as August 31.