Chicagoans will be able to use the city's forthcoming municipal identification card on both the public transportation and library systems, officials announced Wednesday.
Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Public Library leaders joined City Clerk Anna Valencia to unveil the initiative at a news conference, touting the program's effort to make Chicago more "welcoming and inclusive" to all residents.
"This collaboration is an opportunity to reduce barriers in accessing transit in our city and will enable more Chicagoans to take advantage of the great resources our libraries have to offer," Valencia said. "Our goal is to ensure that the Chicago Municipal ID card is much more than just a government ID. It will improve Chicagoans' daily lives and bring down barriers for many of our city’s residents."
First proposed in Oct. 2016 and approved six months later, officials said the Chicago Municipal ID program was designed to allow all city residents access to a form of identification – regardless of immigration status, housing situation, prison record, gender identity and more.
Those applying for the ID will not be asked about their immigration status and will be allowed to self-attest their gender, authorities have said. There will also be options for survivors of domestic violence to designate an alternate address, plus an option for the homeless to obtain an ID without a fixed address.
In addition to being accepted by all City departments as an official form of identification, the Municipal ID will be printed on blank CTA Ventra cards for regular use on the city’s bus and train system, as well as in Chicago’s Public Library network.
"An individual's background should never be a barrier to participating in the economic, social or cultural vibrancy of Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
Emanuel has championed the initiative as part of his efforts to push back on President Donald Trump’s administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
"Today we are a step closer to ensuring all residents – whether immigrant, homeless or returning citizen - have the identification they need to access the resources they deserve," he added.
Chicago will become the first city in the nation to integrate its transit and library systems into the municipal ID program, officials said.
The City allocated $1 million for the Municipal ID program in its annual budget, and expects to begin issuing cards in December.