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Phoenix mulling city ID for immigrants

PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix is considering whether to create a city identification card that can be distributed to immigrants.

Councilman and Public Safety Committee Chair Michael Nowakowski is exploring the idea of a city-issued ID card for, “immigrants that have a Mexican Matricula card or an equivalent of a foreign identification, but not a valid form of state identification,” according to a memo written by Nowakowski and sent to City of Phoenix Attorney Gary Verburg.

The memo suggested that Phoenix is facing challenges as the police department integrates sections of SB 1070. Nowakowski proposed that the cards could be a viable solution to protect both police officers and residents and create an opportunity to make more residents feel safe enough to report crime.

The Phoenix Police Department declined to comment.

Phoenix attorney and civil rights activist Antonio Bustamante believes the cards are an excellent idea. He said the decision is moral and comports with good, sound public policy. The cards will also encourage a significant portion of the community who will not approach law enforcement to report a crime.

“They are afraid of being asked for identification that they cannot produce and that they fear will lead to their arrest and deportation,” he said.

Nowakowski could not be reached for comment.