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Who Are You? NC Community-Led ID Program Expands

Getting a government-issued photo ID is easier said than done for thousands of North Carolinians, but a new program is creating a community-issued ID. (FaithAction)
Getting a government-issued photo ID is easier said than done for thousands of North Carolinians, but a new program is creating a community-issued ID. (FaithAction)
May 11, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. - While the debate over just who should be eligible for a state-issued ID continues, North Carolina communities are taking the matter into their own hands.

A growing number of cities and counties in the state are offering a FaithAction ID - a document people unable to get a government-issued ID can obtain to minimize problems when they encounter law enforcement or even go to a doctor's office. The program is facilitated by Faith Action Internaitonal House, and its director, David Fraccaro, explained the IDs' importance.

"It's essentially in some ways, at least for now, offering a local, constructive, innovative answer to a broken, national, federal immigration system in ways that are creating a safer, better community for all people," he said.

Community members are meeting with the Wake County sheriff today to discuss the acceptance of FaithAction IDs in their county. The program began in Greensboro and has since expanded to Montgomery, Moore, Mecklenberg, Alamance, Orange, Durham and Forsyth. More than 6,000 IDs have been issued so far.

In addition to making day-to-day life more practical, Fraccaro said, having an ID can change a person's perspective and investment in his or her community.

"They also feel more a part of the community," he said, "and when they feel valued, when they feel human, when they feel like they belong, they are then much more likely to contact and cooperate with local law enforcement."

There are similar programs in Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and New York City, although those programs are managed and funded by public money. The FaithAction ID is run by the Faith Action International House. Applicants must fill out an application and pay $10 to receive their ID. Fraccaro said some applicants could legally obtain a government ID but choose to support the program by getting a FaithAction ID.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC