Funds Dry Up For New Haven ID Cards

The private grants that pay for New Haven ID cards have dried up, and Mayor John DeStefano wants to use city money to keep the program running.

Since the program started three years ago, more than 11,000 residents have jumped on board to take advantage of the card's benefits, including access to New Haven's city beach, library and discounts at retailers throughout the city.

Mayor DeStefano wants to move the program to the City's Department of Vital Statistics and hire another employee to handle the workload.

"We're increasing capacity in the Department of Vital Statistics ... not only to help with birth certificates, but help people get the Elm City ID cards. New Haven residents come here each week to buy these cards for a small price, and by moving the program to that department, I'm told they'll be easier to get," Chisara Asomugha, a community service administrator with the city, said.

Still, critics of the program say the ID cards promote illegal immigration at the expense of taxpayers. The city offers the cards to residents regardless of their immigration status.

"Taxpayers should not be funding something that is unconstitutional and against the law," Bill Farrel, of Southern Connecticut  Immigration Reform, said. 

The Board of Aldermen will consider Mayor DeStefano's proposal at the next budget meeting.

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