The City of Milwaukee will partner with Milwaukee County in establishing a municipal identification card for undocumented immigrants and for underdocumented County residents.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
November 3, 2015
Milwaukee, WI – On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council approved an amendment to create a Community Identification Card Special Purpose Account of $150K in the Mayor Tom Barrett’s proposed 2016 budget. During the amendment budget debate, only Alderman Mark A. Borkowski went on record to oppose the Municipal ID amendment. Ald. Borkowski later voted with 13 other Aldermen to adopt the budget for 2016 with Alderman Bob Donovan not voting and being excused, according to the Milwaukee Common Council minutes.
The Municipal ID amendment was introduced by Alderman José G. Pérez on Friday in the Milwaukee Common Council Finance and Personnel Committee (FPC). Ald. Pérez a member of the FPC along with four other members, Aldermen Nik Kovak, Ashanti Hamilton, Terry Witkowski, including Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs voted in favor.
The City $1.55B budget would add 20 additional police officers, pay for police officer body cameras, a $1.3M improvement of City playgrounds, stall alley reconstruction for 4,000 alleys in 2016 and would restore Friday and Saturday hours for various libraries. The once approved City 2016 budget will go to Mayor Barrett for his signature.
On Monday night, Alderman Pérez addressed the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors at a 2016 budget amendment public hearing at Mitchell Domes in support of a Municipal ID and told the County Board that the City’s FPC had unanimously voted to create a fund for a Municipal ID and that the Milwaukee Common Council was expected to approve an amendment in its City budget for 2016. Also, members of Voces de la Frontera, a workers and immigrant rights organization, supporters, several undocumented County residents and clergy spoke in favor of a Municipal ID. No opposition for a Municipal ID was heard at the County Board amendment budget hearing.
The Municipal ID will be used for County identification purposes, open a bank account, obtain a library card, get County museum and park discounts, getting prescriptions, Milwaukee Transit discounts for seniors, visiting inmates by relatives and would allow for local law enforcement to identify County residents.
The Milwaukee County Finance Committee had approved an amendment to create a Municipal ID as well on the Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s 2016 budget. The full County Board will vote on the budget on November 9.
When the Milwaukee County Board approves their Municipal ID amendment, both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will work on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will establish the framework for the creation and issuance of community ID’s. The Office of Government Affairs provided $150K in an allocated contingency fund account to be used for the Community ID program contingent upon the County’s acceptance of the MOU and confirmation that the City of Milwaukee will match the County’s contribution, according to Monday’s County budget hearing on amendments.
The Municipal ID is the result of the Wisconsin Republican controlled legislature and Governor Scott Walker’s (R) failure to approve a state picture driving permit for undocumented immigrants to legally drive in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee Common Council budget 2016 adoption including amendments (PDF) http://bit.ly/1Pkm4zm