The Biden administration is planning to offer illegal immigrants temporary I.D. cards, which will allow them more easily access housing, healthcare, transportation and other benefits, two government sources familiar with the matter said, according to Axios on Friday.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said the ID cards will include a photo, biographic identifiers, and “cutting-edge security features” that will benefit both illegal immigrants and the government.
Officials believe the effort — called the ICE Secure Docket Card program — will incentivize illegal immigrants to communicate more frequently with law enforcement while they await immigration court proceedings, the sources said.
Lawmakers in Congress buried the program in the FY 2023 appropriations bill, which allocates $10 million for the illegal immigrant IDs. The administration is hoping to get approval from Congress in order to roll out the pilot program before the anticipated GOP takeover during the midterm elections in November.
While the program’s details are unclear, the ID cards are expected to be issued to illegal immigrants who unlawfully cross the US-Mexico border without a form of identification. Illegal immigrants who are already in the United States and who are going through immigration court proceedings would also receive a temporary ID.
Axios reported that the cards will likely feature a QR code that will allow illegal immigrants to access court information and documents through an app. The sources said the cards will also make it easier for illegal immigrants to prove they are in the immigration system.
“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,” an ICE spokesperson told the outlet.
ICE said the ultimate goal of the program is to “improve current, inconsistent paper forms that often degrade rapidly in real world use.” If the pilot program is a success, ICE will look into expanding it.
“Fifty percent of the problems that migrants have in just staying accountable in the process is because we’re not communicating well,” a DHS official said, according to CNN. “People are going to be smoothly, efficiently, humanely working through the immigration process.”
The Biden administration’s efforts to support illegal immigrants come as new Customs and Border Protection data revealed that more than 1.74 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the southwest border so far this year, already topping last year’s all-time record despite three months remaining in this fiscal year.
A recent Department of Homeland Security report obtained by the Washington Free Beacon showed that the Biden administration lost track of possibly hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in the United States after the agency failed to record the U.S. addresses of nearly one-third of illegal border crossers last year.