Last week the Times reported on a new program in Princeton and Trenton, NJ, where the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund began distributing community ID cards to any resident—even the illegal ones. With no other way of proving where they lived, many illegal immigrants have been finding the cards useful for doing everything from cashing checks to taking out library books. Of course, with the heightened national attention on immigration policy, the program has been getting its fair share of backlash.
Angry e-mails and phone calls have been pouring into the group's offices, accusing them of everything from giving illegal aliens favorable treatment to treason. One person wrote, “I cannot believe that your town is issuing cards to Illegals! It is a slap in the face to my relatives who had to wait to come here and to people who are currently waiting for Citizenship the correct way! These people broke our laws ... they should be punished and deported!" Another said, "I wish this country would treat illegals the same way Mexico does. Shame on you."
But despite the outrage, local law officials are actually in favor of the ID cards. Trenton Police Director Irving Bradley Jr. said they recognize the cards are not an official form of government ID, but may help illegal immigrants report dangerous crimes. He said in a statement, "We need the support of our entire community in order to combat crime...This is a small token in our effort to ensure that all crimes are reported and to make certain that those that are less fortunate are not being victimized and are not in fear of reporting crimes to the police."
Across the Hudson, where lawmakers have been getting arrested for protesting Arizona's immigration law, Mayor Bloomberg called the new policy "national suicide." He recalled times where the U.S. attempted to close its borders as disgraceful, but said, "fortunately, sanity prevailed."