On the Trail of Good Ideas: Swapping Cards in London and New Haven

May 18th, 2011

Good Ideas about successful integration practice are easy to export and are traveling from city to city. This month meet: Juan Camilo, London Project Manager, Migrants’ Rights Network, London, UK.

The Good Idea that really caught my eye was: The Municipal ID Cards for Inclusive and Safe Communities by the New Haven Mayor’s Office.


This idea caught my eye because it is not common to see public authorities devising policies with the aim of including irregular migrants. It recognizes that even though many migrants may be in breach of immigration rules they are still a part of local communities and that their vulnerability and exclusion can have negative effects on an area. It is brave for a Mayor to take this approach when public debate is so polarized.

It is also interesting that ID cards are in this case a tool for inclusion, whereas across the pond, a national ID card in the UK has been strongly opposed by campaigners because of privacy concerns. It shows how the same tools can be used for different effects and that the local context can be determinant for an idea to take hold.

How did you share this Good Idea?

I wrote a blog on the Open Democracy: People on the Move blog where I put this idea as an example of how local authorities can be creative in being inclusive towards migrants even when national policies are generating exclusion.


Irregular migration is understandably an issue that generates controversy and apprehension. Ideas like this one illustrate the potential for policies to address the abuse and exploitation of the most vulnerable and improve local areas. They show that there are actions that can be taken locally to protect residents who are excluded by national policies.

Related Good Ideas:

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