Immigrant Advocates Celebrate the Passage of Dover Municipal ID Program

Dover is now the third city in New Jersey to establish a government ID program for all its residents 

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dover, NJ. – This Tuesday evening, a diverse group of local residents and advocates from Wind of the Spirit, a member organization of The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, gathered inside Dover Town Hall to witness and celebrate the historic approval of the municipal ID ordinance.

Dover City Council approved the ordinance unanimously with 9-0 votes in favor. The program will help many families who did not have access to a government issued identification.

"Dover is a unique town that welcomes immigrants, offers assistance to folks rebuilding their lives after addiction, and provides relief to the homeless. Each of these vulnerable groups are part of our community, but they often lack access to driver's licenses and other forms of identification. Municipal IDs help us to recognize the inherent worth of each person, to open doors to resources in the community, and to increase the level of safety and trust in our community. Municipal IDs have proven to improve towns and cities like New Haven, Connecticut, San Francisco, California, and Washington DC. It is time we welcome the benefits of this program in Dover as well," said Karol Ruiz, immigration attorney from Dover and board member of Wind of the Spirit.

“As a Dover native, I am proud to be involved in the process of creating a Municipal ID for my community. This ID has multiple benefits; first, it will allow some to open bank accounts and cash checks; and secondly, it will help to unify our community by allowing for better communication between Dover residents and law enforcement; lastly, it will help local business. By creating an incentive program, it encourages our residents to shop local. Overall, this policy will better the quality of life for residents, authority figures, and businesses,” said Jackie Zapata, Civic Participation Coordinator for Wind of the Spirit.

“Dover took a great step by moving forward with a municipal ID program that is inclusive of all its residents. It will benefit many marginalized communities, including immigrants, and all members of the community by providing them with a city identification card they can use to improve their quality of life. All its residents can obtain an ID card to open a bank account, to gain hospital admission, and even to pick up a package at the post office without problems,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

The local government identification program would benefit all its residents regardless of immigration status.