- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Newark has established a municipal identification card program for most city residents, including those who are living in the country illegally.

Mayor Ras Baraka signed the legislation Monday.

The cards will be available to all Newark residents 14 and older. Advocates say the cards will provide access to vital city services and will be especially useful for people they described as “marginalized in the community,” such as those with disabilities, the homeless and people with criminal records.

This is believed to be the first time that a municipality in New Jersey has had its own identification card program.

Officials say the cards will serve as proof of identity and residency, regardless of immigration status, and provide discounts at the Health and Wellness center.

They also will allow access to the city’s cultural Institutions and schools and help those who don’t have access to other forms of identification to interact with city agencies, local authorities and open bank accounts

The cards will begin as a pilot program on July 1, then open citywide on Aug. 1.

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