Given its proximity to the United States-Mexico border, El Paso has a large population of illegal immigrants who live there, but do not have any way to access services restricted to those who are legal residents.
According to KFOX14, the program is expected to roll out in Spring 2024, however, planning has already begun.
"We're excited to have this process move forward," El Paso Deputy City Manager for Quality of Life, Dionne Mack, said. "It has had a lot of community engagement, a lot of research and this is a way for us to really move forward in a way that I think would be acceptable to many people within a community and also have people have this form of ID that's really important for them in terms of the things they're trying to get done their lives."
Mack added that eventually, various companies will join the program and start "offering discounts" to those who have the ID.
While any organization can choose whether to accept the cards or not, prospective holders have already been informed that they will be able to use it to access health services as well as local parks and recreation centers.
Mack emphasized that the cards are "not intended to be a replacement for state or federal ID," meaning they will not be legal forms of identification for voting, accessing government benefits, or other civic duties and benefits.
When the program is launched, the cards will be available via the city, as well as at "popup locations" throughout the community. Funding for the cards is included in the budget for this fiscal year.
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