New program in Washtenaw County could grant IDs to undocumented immigrants
Washtenaw county officials are considering a new program that would give county ID cards to all residents - including undocumented immigrants.
Yousef Rabhi is the Washtenaw County Board Chairman and one of the chief supporters of this program.
He says while unauthorized immigrants are a large demographic that would be affected by this program, they aren't the only people who could benefit.
“This program is really about anyone that doesn't have access to an ID right now. It could apply to immigrants; it could apply to folks that are homeless; it could apply to folks that are transgender and who don't believe that the male/female designation on the current state ID is representative of who they really are. It actually is a card that could fulfill a lot of different purposes and serve a lot of different people in the community, ” Rabhi said.
Rabhi says that with the new ID cards, everyone in the community will have access to basic goods and services not currently available because of restrictions that keep certain groups from getting an ID.
“Really the goal here is to humanize everybody in the community. All members of the community deserve the respect and they deserve access to services and that's what this is about really, ” he said.
According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan is home to an estimated 65,000 undocumented families who contribute an estimated $126 million a year in state and local taxes.
-Lindsay Hall, Michigan Radio Newsroom