Social media users are claiming that the Biden administration wants to give undocumented immigrants an identification card to obtain benefits which could lead to voter fraud.
Examples can be seen (here) and (here).
The text in one post reads: “Biden wants to give illegals ID cards so they can start collecting American benefits. Boy, wonder if that could possibly lead to voter fraud.”
It is unclear which policy these posts are referring to. However, as the posts refer to the Biden administration, this fact check will focus on federal level proposals for a migrant ID card, rather than state level initiatives.
A July 1, 2022 report of the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (here) proposed $10 million for the ICE Secure Docket Program to “to allow noncitizens access to immigration files and documents”.
News outlets reported on the proposal in July (here), (here), (here).
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson shared a statement with Reuters about the concept of the secure docket card.
“While the specifics of the program are under development, it is important to note the secure card will not be an official form of federal identification,” the statement said. “The secure card will indicate it is for use by DHS agencies and would be provided only after national security background checks have been performed.”
“Paper documents pose a security risk, are easily lost and degrade rapidly in real-world use, creating inefficiencies for the government and noncitizens,” ICE said. “Moving to a secure card will save the agency millions, free up resources, and ensure information is quickly accessible to DHS officials while reducing the agency’s FOIA backlog.”
FOIA refers to the Freedom of Information Act, which allows the public to request records from any federal agency. (www.foia.gov/ )
“While the secure docket card concept is in its infancy, more information will be available if this concept advances from idea to reality,” ICE said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Social Security Administration explains the circumstances in which a non-citizen may qualify for benefits ( here ).
Generally, undocumented immigrants including DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) holders are ineligible to receive federal public benefits like the supplemental nutrition assistant program (SNAP), regular Medicaid, Social Security, healthcare subsidies, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (here), (here).
Undocumented immigrants may be eligible for emergency medical assistance under Medicaid and certain public health programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (bit.ly/2PqIVzf). A Reuters Fact Check debunking the claim that “illegals get all healthcare for free” can be read (here).
They may also be eligible for “short-term, non-cash, emergency aid” provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and for disaster-relief cash assistance through state, local and voluntary programs (www.fema.gov/), (here).
Non-citizens are not able to vote in federal, state and most local elections, according to USA.gov (www.usa.gov/who-can-vote). Only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in the U.S. presidential elections.
Some states require voters to show identification to cast their votes in elections, as seen on Ballotpedia (here), and fewer than 20 states provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants (here).
As the docket card program is still being developed, it is not possible to fully determine its implications. At the time of this article’s publication, there is no evidence that the cards can be used to obtain benefits or vote in U.S. elections. The ID cards will not be considered federal forms of identification. Voter ID requirements vary from state to state.
Michelle Mittelstadt, director of communications at nonpartisan, independent think tank the Migration Policy Institute, told Reuters via email that “the creation of this card would not represent a way of extending voting rights or benefits eligibility.”
“Noncitizen voting in a federal election is a crime,” Mittelstadt said. “There is virtually no evidence that noncitizens are engaging in voter fraud by voting in elections for which they have no right to vote.”
“Considering noncitizens of all types are ineligible to vote in federal and state elections (and only in small numbers of municipal elections) and the proposed ICE Secure Docket Card by its very nature would be given only to unauthorized immigrants in removal proceedings, it’s out of the question that any federal or state elections administrator would accept the ID as valid to establish voting eligibility,” Mittelstadt added.
Mittelstadt also pointed out that in terms of undocumented individuals using the card to receive benefits, “Congress would have to change eligibility requirements for any federal benefits program – that’s not something that an ID card could convey.”
Reuters has previously investigated the obstacles and safeguards that are in place to prevent voter fraud including (here), (here).
No evidence. The ICE docket card program is proposed as a replacement for paper documents and to allow DHS to easily access information on non-citizens. According to ICE, “the secure card will not be an official form of federal identification” and there is no evidence this would lead to voter fraud. It is a federal crime for non-citizens to vote in federal elections.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.