Cities increasingly turning to municipal ID cards

Date: 12 Aug 2016


Cities increasingly turning to municipal ID cards - Houston Chronicle With immigration reform deadlocked and election rhetoric against it divisive, Houston and cities across the country are increasingly considering providing identification cards to immigrants and other vulnerable populations. Rev. David Fraccaro, executive director of FaithAction International House in Greensboro, said officials developed the initiative after hosting a series of community meetings on the deep distrust between North Carolina's immigrant population and its law enforcement, which like all state and local agencies cannot enforce federal immigration law. [...] Fraccaro's nonprofit met with law enforcement agencies to come up with a design for an ID card that would meet their security needs. Though they don't substitute for driver's licenses, proponents say the documents minimize problems with police because officers can confirm people are who they claim to be and live where they say they do. An attempt to kill the initiative in North Carolina's state legislature this year rallied the law enforcement community and the program was ultimately kept mostly intact. A 2013 study from the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed 2,000 Hispanics in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston and found 70 percent of immigrants here illegally would not file a police report if they were a victim or witness to a crime because they fear police inquiring about their immigration status or that of someone they know. "The only people who need (municipal IDs) are people here illegally and governments should not be issuing them when they have no way to authenticate the identities of the people asking for them," said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., advocating for limited immigration, in an email. Houston City Councilman Robert Gallegos, who represents a predominantly Hispanic district, said city-issued IDs would help immigrants as well as the homeless, youth in the foster system, people with mental illness, and felons who may not have the paperwork or ability to obtain state-issued driver's licenses.