NC’s Anti-Community ID Bill Could Harm Immigrant Families
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Providers of community IDs for North Carolina's immigrant communities say proposed legislation banning police officers and local governments from recognizing the alternative IDs as valid could have crippling effects on families.
House Bill 167 would restrict the use of cards issued to immigrants through the FaithAction ID Network. More than 15,000 residents in North Carolina and other states currently rely on FaithAction IDs.
María González, deputy director of the nonprofit group El Pueblo, said community IDs were created as a stopgap solution for individuals banned from receiving state licenses because they lack the required documentation.
"Medical care, participating in the cultural and business life of our community, getting a library card, picking up a kid from school," González outlined.
Supporters of the bill argued community-issued IDs pose security risks for communities. FaithAction explained in order to receive an ID, program participants are required to attend an orientation on the benefits and limitations of the card and sign a simple Memorandum of Understanding.
González added FaithAction IDs are designed to help people navigate daily life, and pointed out they cannot be used to vote or access federal benefits.
"We hope that there's a compassionate way that we can be reassured that our communities feel safe, are safe, that people are who they say they are," González emphasized. "But not at the expense of more vulnerable communities."
Research shows community IDs help reduce fear of interacting with law enforcement and witnesses and victims of crime are more likely to talk to police officers if they have an ID card.
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