ID card drive aims to draw Elis

Despite the Elm City Resident Card’s rather controversial history, there were no protesters at today’s ID registration in Dwight Hall.

Introduced in July 2007, the Elm City Resident Card was designed to give all New Haven residents a form of identification, regardless of immigration status. Over 7,370 New Haven residents, of which about 800 are Yalies, are members. Though the ID itself has been a controversial subject in the past, the first day of a two-day registration period passed uneventfully.

Elm City residents visited Dwight Hall on Tuesday to register for the Elm City Resident Card. Twenty Yale students signed up.
Erica Cooper
Elm City residents visited Dwight Hall on Tuesday to register for the Elm City Resident Card. Twenty Yale students signed up.

Since its establishment, city officials have worked to enhance the card’s features. The Elm City Resident Card gives local residents access to all branches of the New Haven Public Library, Lighthouse Point, and the city golf course. The ID also possesses a debit card function for use at 34 local stores, at parking meters and at garages around the city.

“There are a number of stores around the city and at the Office of New Haven Residents where cardholders can come and add money to their card,” explained Ana Winn, project coordinator for the Elm City Resident Card.

In a move to entice Yale students to sign up for the card, the city is currently negotiating with local bars and restaurants to allow students to use the card as an additional means of accessing age-restricted venues.

“We are constantly putting things through to improve the cards’ features, and right now, we are working with local restaurants and bars to have this card serve as proof of age,” Winn said.

Anna Smith ’10, codirector of Dwight Hall, added that the card is another means of connecting Yale with New Haven.

“The whole purpose of this initiative is to help build a stronger community in New Haven so that Yale students can get more involved in the city,” Smith said.

But the card’s tenure has been a turbulent one. After the card was first established, the anti-illegal immigration group Community Watchdog Project attempted to force New Haven to release the names and addresses of every Elm City ID cardholder. Additionally, 36 hours after the city announced plans to implement the card, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducted its controversial Fair Haven raids, during which 32 immigrants were detained.

At Tuesday’s registration process, however, there was not a hint of controversy. Instead, a slow trickle of students calmly walked to the registration table, which never had more than two people in line.

Smith said there are practical reasons why Yalies should consider applying for the card, namely access to the New Haven library system and discounts at stores, such as Foot Locker, Subway and the People’s Laundromat.

Edie Joseph ’12, who received her ID card today, said she believes that it will encourage her to explore parts of the city that she would have otherwise ignored.

“The retail discounts means that I will visit stores that I wouldn’t normally think about going to,” she said.

Last year approximately 500 Yale students signed up for the card. Today, 20 students applied.

Registration for the Elm City Resident Card will continue today from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dwight Hall Common Room.


  • Paul Streitz

    I note that there was no mention of the possibility that the ID Card also attracts criminals from third world countries.

    Nor, does it mention the fact that the New Haven ID Card is in clear violation of the U.S. law which proposes criminal penalities for anyone who induces an illegal alien to come into the United States, reside in the United States or work in the United States.

    In short, those signing up for this card become part of a larger criminal effort on the part of its sponsors to violate U.S. law.

    One of the side effects, of course, is to invite illegals that perpetrate violent acts against American citizens.

    paul streitz
    ct citizens for immigration control

  • Anonymous

    who is this guy?

  • Recent Alum

    Really ironic how, in today's YDN, we see both an article about an illegal immigrant who killed a U.S. citizen and an article on how Yalies (including, apparently ALL THREE candidates for Ward 1 Alderman) all stand behind the New Haven ID card.

  • yes

    Hey, I've got an idea. Let's make sure nobody without immigration documents has any official means of identifying themselves. No cards for you! I bet that'll help get people to report crimes, call the police or fire department, and otherwise do what is needed to protect our community from actual criminals. Plus, we wouldn't want immigrants to feel like they are an accepted part of our community in New Haven -- that would probably turn them into terrorists. Or something.