Belonging in the City: Municipal Id in the Trump Era

Angela García, University of Chicago
Yanilda Gonzales, University of Chicago
Marci Ybarra, University of Chicago

As the most immediate face of government, cities are increasingly circumventing current congressional gridlock and the retrenchment of federal protections to respond to pressing urban challenges. For example, valid government-issued identification is critical to access cities’ institutions, services, and supports. Yet such documents remain out of reach for many residents—and unauthorized immigrants in particular. In response, approximately 48 cities across the US now issue municipal ID cards. Emerging scholarship in this area has centered on the development and implementation of these municipal ID programs. We know much less about whether and how people, like unauthorized immigrants, rely on these cards in everyday life. This mixed-methods study focuses on CityKey in Chicago, the first municipal ID program to unfold under the Trump administration, to ask whether city-level ID can ameliorate the effects of exclusion for unauthorized immigrants at other levels of government. Drawing on surveys and qualitative interviews of unauthorized immigrant enrollees, we show the tangible ways that municipal ID cards expand access to the city and drive belonging and membership at the city level.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 28. Spaces of Immigrant Reception and Exclusion: Immigration Federalism in the United States