Letter: I support the Elm City Resident Card

In an editorial published yesterday (“News’ View: Jones needs to articulate his position,” Feb. 12), the News’ board called upon me to clarify my position on the Elm City Resident Card. I am more than happy to do so.

The Elm City Resident Card is a form of identification that is intended to be recognized by merchants and other service providers across New Haven. All residents of the city are eligible for the card, even if they cannot prove they are citizens of the United States.

When I first learned of the Elm City Resident Card, I was in high school in North Carolina. I initially envisioned a scenario in which local governments all across the country were granting de facto citizenship to undocumented residents, while the federal government was failing to take the necessary steps to make legal immigration more accessible to more people. Without all the facts, I saw this as city government circumventing federal law and was reluctant to embrace the idea.

After I came to New Haven, though, I began to see a different side of the story. I realized that the Elm City Resident Card was about public safety, not about federal immigration policy. Perhaps most importantly, with cooperation from local banks, the card was designed to give undocumented residents access to bank accounts, which would allow them to safely deposit their money in banks instead of carrying large sums in their pockets. Without access to banks, folks all across New Haven, particularly those who appeared to be Latino, regardless of their immigration status, were becoming targets for robberies and other physical attacks.

After my initial reaction to the program, I was given the opportunity to see a proud, progressive city boldly act to preserve the safety and vitality of its communities. I can say unequivocally that I will support any measure required to continue or improve the program. The Elm City Resident Card is exactly the type of creative action that cities should take when the federal government fails to appropriately handle its responsibilities, and it is exactly the type of progressive leadership that I plan to bring to the board.

Mike Jones

The writer is a sophomore in Saybrook College and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Ward 1 Alderman.


  • Anonymous

    bravo, mike! great piece.

  • Townie

    I thank God that you're not running in my ward.

  • S.F. Bemis


  • Anonymous

    Is anyone buying this? I mean, it's a fine explanation, but given way too late in the process to be believable. Let's recap: First, Jones is passionately opposed to the ID card; then when asked about it he deletes the web page and says he's for it, but gives a nonsensical explanation for why; then it takes an editorial from the YDN to make him clarify his position. This is not leadership.

    This would at least be more excusable if it were in the service of a higher purpose, but the worst thing is, it doesn't seem to be. What city issue is Jones passionate about that excuses a little obfuscation on other issues? So far I haven't heard a single concrete proposal. He seems to be doing this just for the prize, and that's simply wrong, especially in a city with so many needs.

    Somebody else, please run against Mike Jones. This would be a perfect time to jump into the ring.

  • @ Anon

    His webpage has not been deleted, and it only took him two days to respond.

    What exactly are you talking about?

    Do you have your own agenda?

  • @ #4

    Your recap leaves out some crucial information.

    1. This isn't late in the process. This letter appeared the day after the editorial.

    2. Jones was opposed to the ID Card in high school. You changed your mind on anything between now and then?

    3. The web page is actually still up, if you visit his blog (michaelbjones.blogspot.com).

    4. You don't know what questions they asked him. These are student journalists. His response may not have been nonsensical, you haven't seen the transcript of the interview.

  • is this a joke?

    Mike has taken no leadership on any of these issues for the last two years he's been on campus. It's not about the ID card--he's allowed to change his mind, even with this shallow justification--but his whole campaign, despite having like 20 kids involved with fancy titles, has come out with no substantive policy goals beyond vague ideas that appeal to different constituencies whose support Mike needs. Once he becomes Alderman, I'm certain he'll do nothing but continue to self-promote.

  • Real Townie

    I'll elaborate on the access to bank issue mentioned by Jones. Yes, illegals are often crime victims and because of lack of access to the bank system they may be targeted more as they may be stereotypically presumed by crime-minded people to be carrying cash. But also what we hear is that the undocumented victims are reluctant to call the cops because of their status, so that with the ID cards they will be more comfortable in reporting crime. Plus, there are some who function as private bankers/loan sharks, also problematic.

  • Miss Approp de

    Well….Shameless self promoting - Is waaay more than what Alder Plattus has done in her tenure
    Furthermore .. Flip flopping on the issues usually takes place AFTER the election and swearing in..
    This Mr.Jones cockiness and arrogance is coinciding with the check from the democratic town committee

  • Separating the Issues

    People who have issues with the Yale Dems should settle them with the Yale Dems- not thwart Mike Jones' campaign.

    People who have issues with Mike Jones' policies should address them directly with him.

    In general, Mike is a nice guy who is genuinely concerned about New Haven and Yalies' lack of interaction with them.
    And ambitious? Yes, he is; but who isn't? Plus, you need ambition to have vision.

  • phil

    Mike Jones for President!

  • yaylie

    Any measures designed to make life easier for criminal aliens have the undesireable effect of making illegal immigration a more desireable activity, encouraging more of it to happen and further burdening our country with its nasty side effects. That is why projects like the Elm City card are dangerous. If criminal aliens are such an easy target for other criminals - too bad - maybe they should stick to their home countries where they can open bank accounts at will.