Fox News baselessly stoked fears that undocumented immigrants would be able to vote if they received identification cards in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his first State of the City address on February 10, in which he announced a plan to offer identification cards to all residents, regardless of their immigration status.
On the February 12 edition of Fox's The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson reported on de Blasio's announcement and falsely suggested that the plan is intended to permit undocumented immigrants to vote. She asked guest Emily Tisch Sussman:
CARLSON: So, Emily, am I to assume that the reason that de Blasio would want this is so that people can move on to vote? I mean, I don't really understand -- what do you think his whole effort is in this?
SUSSMAN: We do really see that having these either ID cards or driver's licenses for the undocumented, does actually promote public safety. You know, those who are involved in fatal car crashes, one in five have not gone through the proper training of a driver's license, it would bring them into that kind of system. It would have more economic security for those. It would have better trust with the police -- it really does bring them in in a number of ways.
Carlson's concern that giving undocumented immigrants municipal IDs would lead to them voting is nothing short of odd -- Carlson provides no evidence for it. And in order to register to vote in New York City, you must be a U.S. citizen -- a municipal ID card does not grant citizenship. In fact, the purpose of the ID cards, as de Blasio said in his speech and the Center for Public Democracy explains, is to:
· Improve community safety by making it easier for those without state-issued ID to interact with local authorities.
· Improve access to financial services by providing a form of ID that will allow those without other forms of identification to open bank accounts.
· Mitigate impact of racial profiling.
· Make symbolic statement of welcome and solidarity to immigrant residents.
· Promote unity and sense of membership in the local community among all residents.
The Center conducted case studies in several municipalities and found that “Municipal ID's are giving people easier access to local services and institutions, reducing fear of police interaction, and fostering a sense of belonging and shared identity.”