New ID cards for undocumented immigrants

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The Biden administration  proposed a pilot plan for a new national identification card system for undocumented immigrants. This initiative comes after a rise in border crossings and undocumented immigrants arriving in the United States. This plan, known as the “ICE Secure Docket Card Program,”  would issue national identification cards to undocumented immigrants to help streamline the immigration process at the border.

Next, I am going to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of this new program?
  2. How would the program work?
  3. What does this new program mean for immigrants?
  4. What will the new card include?
  5. Who will receive this card? 
  6. When will the card be made available?

What is the purpose of this new program?

It is important to note that the Secure Docket Card Program is still being finalized. This pilot program intends to alleviate many immigrants’ issues when they come into the country by granting temporary ID cards to migrants crossing the U.S./Mexico Border. The program would also expand issuance to other immigrants without legal status in the United States, including those who have pending immigration cases or are in removal proceedings.

What does this new program mean for immigrants?

Individuals who obtain a Secure Docket Card at the border should  experience a more “streamlined” immigration process. The card will contain a unique QR code through a mobile application that will obtain important information regarding their immigration process in the U.S. The QR code will also allow individuals to quickly update their contact information and check in with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Additionally, immigrants who did not previously possess a form of photo identification will be able to use the Secure Docket Card to access various benefits such as health care, a driver’s license, and housing. Also, the Biden Administration is calling upon the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow travelers to use these cards as a form of identification when traveling by plane within the United States.

What will the new card include?

The card, known as the “Secure Docket Card,” is expected to include biographic information, photo, nationality, and a unique QR code to access a new portal with relevant immigration information. The portal is intended for individuals to update their contact information, such as their address, to streamline the process of checking in with federal authorities as they go through the immigration process. The portal will allow the cardholder to access immigration court information and immigration documents entirely online.

And although the details of the pilot program are still being finalized, an ICE spokesperson stated, “The ICE Secure Docket Card program is part of a pilot program to modernize various forms of documentation provided to provisionally released noncitizens through a consistent, verifiable, secure card. The secure card will contain a photo, biographic identifiers, and cutting-edge security features to the mutual benefit of the government and noncitizens.” It is also said that the card will function as a valid form of identification but cannot be used to register to vote.

Who will receive this card?

The Secure Docket Card Program plans to grant temporary ID cards to immigrants not in detention centers who illegally crossed or to others going through the removal process.

When will the card be made available?

Democrats need congressional approval before the end of September 2023 to make the proposed plan a reality.

As more concrete details come out about this program, please stay tuned as we will share important updates. 

**Noticias para Inmigrantes is a media and communications organization that provides independent reporting and commentary on issues affecting immigrants in the United States. It should be noted that we do not provide legal assistance or legal advice for any case unless we interview a specialized source on the subject. It is important to clarify that each case is different, and it is and it is important to consult with your attorney.

Mitzi Colin Lopez is a Digital Ads Content Creator and Experimenter at Noticias Para Inmigrantes. Her origin as a Mexican immigrant characterizes and drives her to empower the Latinx, Hispanic and immigrant communities. She is a recent graduate of West Chester University, where she obtained her bachelor’s in Political Science and Spanish. Her passions include social justice, advocacy, hiking, traveling, and weightlifting.