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Chicago’s municipal ID card will be called ‘CityKey’ and cost $10

Ald. James Cappleman's municipal ID card

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) shows off his new municipal ID last year. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

The municipal identification card Chicago has created to help bring undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows” will be called “CityKey” with free enrollment for the first 100,000 applicants, followed by a $10 fee.

The fee will be $5 for those 17 and under. Senior citizens 65 and older will get cards free. The fee will also be waived for low-income and homeless Chicagoans, veterans, victims of domestic violence and participants in the One Summer Chicago jobs program.

Veterans can opt for an insignia beneath their photo. Cardholders will also have the option to include medical information, an emergency contact and declare their intention to donate organs.

After spending $1 million and allocating another $1 million for 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had hoped to start issuing municipal ID’s by Dec. 31 that will double as Ventra and library cards.

Instead, the “3-in-1” card will launch citywide in March after a public education campaign and a first-quarter test to “ensure security.”

The delay didn’t stop Emanuel and City Clerk Anna Valencia from holding a City Hall news conference Thursday to unveil the name, cost and design of the ID and promote the program by printing the first cards.

“The CityKey is the key to unlock opportunities for all Chicagoans and all of the great things our city has to offer. … For some residents, it can mean access to basic service and a better life,” Valencia said.

City Clerk Anna Valencia joins Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce the name, cost and details about Chicago municipal ID program. | Fran Spielman /Sun-Times

Emanuel said what started off as an ID to “help the undocumented community feel — not locked out, but part of the city” has broadened to include returning veterans, the homeless, ex-offenders and domestic violence victims.

“The CityKey — will bring all those different communities and more that are on the periphery, on the sideline into our city. And when we say, `Welcome,’ we mean, `Welcome,’ ” the mayor said.

“If you do not want an ex-offender to be a repeat offender. … If you want somebody who’s undocumented to feel comfortable to be able to drive their child to school, they have to be part of the city. … We don’t even think about it — all of us who access every part of this city. When somebody says, `Can I see your driver’s license?’ what that unlocks, what that smooths out and all the speed bumps that literally get eliminated because you have a driver’s license. It has your picture. It has your access. And you’re permitted in.”

At a time when undocumented immigrants are living in fear of the mass deportations threatened during President Donald Trump’s campaign, Valencia once again assured applicants that the personal information they provide will not end up in the hands of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“The only thing that we share in our data system will be the unique ID number that you get. It will be the date issued and the date of expiration. That’s all we have in our data system. We will not be retaining any documents,” the clerk said.

To secure a municipal ID, applicants will need to produce documents that grant them four points — three for identity and one for residency. Dozens of documents could meet those standards, including a high school transcript and a veterans discharge form. Applicants also will be able to self-designate their gender.

In New York City, 65 percent of those who signed up for municipal ID’s were lured by the promise of discounts and ancillary benefits.

That’s why Chicago’s municipal ID will double as a Ventra card and a library card with discounts to be announced early next year.

“We already have a commitment from a sporting team, from a museum, from some local businesses and a theater that we’ll be rolling out in January and February,” Valencia said.

Still to be determined is whether the municipal ID will make the holder eligible to buy alcohol and vote.

“We want access to voting. But, we also want to be very careful because, with an undocumented population, you have to be a citizen to vote,” she said.

Despite the excitement created by Thursday’s announcement, South Side Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) reiterated his longstanding claim that the municipal ID was a $2 million “waste of time, money and resources.”

“The people in the shadows that they’re trying to bring out of the shadows are not gonna come out for a glorified library card and a Ventra card,” he said.