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Groups fighting for local ID cards
Contra Costa Times ^ | 4/28/8 | Nicholas Kusnetz

Posted on 04/28/2008 8:00:48 AM PDT by SmithL

A group of immigrant rights organizations in Contra Costa County is looking to create a municipal identification card in the East Bay, encouraged by adoption of a similar program in San Francisco.

"It would give a little bit of insurance for people to have something in their hands," said Miriam Wong of the Latina Center, a Richmond-based organization that teaches leadership skills to women in the Latino community.

Such an ID card could be used to open bank accounts, get library cards or just provide peace of mind, proponents say. Currently, San Francisco and New Haven, Conn., are the only jurisdictions with a local ID program.

Nancy, a 37-year-old Richmond woman who asked that her last name be withheld, came here from Mexico four years ago and said she lives in constant fear of being stopped by police. A locally issued ID card would help many undocumented immigrants, she said.

"It would make us feel safe," she said in Spanish, "so we can walk down the street without fear."

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a local ID card in November. Its backers say the card will help all marginalized people — such as youth, ex-convicts and the homeless — for whom obtaining a state ID is a cumbersome process.

"To be able to go to City Hall and get an ID card so people can have proof of residency is just a more streamlined process," said Pilar Schiavo, aide to Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who was the card's principal sponsor in San Francisco. The standard price for San Francisco's card will be $15, compared with $23 for DMV-issued identification.

While there have been no legal challenges to San Francisco's plan, some argue the ID subverts federal law.

"What does the municipal ID do other than give a U.S. ID to illegal immigrants?" said Bryan Griffith, spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that supports stricter immigration controls. "And if it does do something other than that, are there not other policies that cover those issues?"

Contra Costa proponents are using San Francisco as a model. Schiavo said the plan passed with little opposition because proponents gained support from a broad coalition of community groups before approaching county government.

"We absolutely need representation from all sectors of our community," said Antonio Medrano of Concilio Latino, a West Contra Costa group that works to improve conditions for Latinos, who is also part of the drive for a Contra Costa- issued ID.

The local proponents' group, which is calling itself the Contra Costa County Municipal ID Task Force, has the support of Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and will hold its first public meeting May 8. Task force members — including Medrano, Wong and others — hope to cull widespread public support before approaching the Richmond City Council, which they see as most sympathetic to the cause. The group then plans to go to other cities, and then the county.

Among the arguments for issuing a local ID card is that such a program would improve public safety by encouraging undocumented workers to report crimes to police. But Griffith, from the Center for Immigration Studies, said cities can achieve that goal by shielding immigrants from questions about their status when reporting crimes.

That's the policy in Richmond, but Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said he thinks fear of being reported to immigration officials still stops some people from going to police.

Public safety was a driving concern behind the country's first municipal identification card in New Haven, Conn., said Jessica Mayorga, communications director for the city. She said the card has been a success since it became available in July, though its impact on public safety is hard to quantify.

Here, the card's proponents say they face an uphill battle persuading county officials to support the plan.

"The obstacles with the elected officials are that there are elections coming up," said Maria Rivera, an immigration lawyer in San Pablo who is part of the Municipal ID Task Force. She mentioned Supervisor Federal Glover, running against four people in his re-election bid, as an example. "I don't know if he's going to touch the hot potato of immigration with a 10-foot pole."

An official with Glover's office said the supervisor has not studied the issue.

In Richmond, City Councilman John Marquez said a majority of his colleagues likely would approve.

"I think it's long overdue," he said. "We need to be safe and protect our society, whether they have documentation or not."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: aliens; fakeid; hispandering; illegalaliens; immigration

1 posted on 04/28/2008 8:00:48 AM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Tell them to get a drivers license ... o, never mind.

2 posted on 04/28/2008 8:02:50 AM PDT by edcoil
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To: edcoil

the word immigrant means a legal resident. Don’t let the illegals take it over as the homosexuals have commandeered the word “gay.”

Immigrants have a “green card” with photo and don’t need any other.

3 posted on 04/28/2008 8:06:38 AM PDT by elpadre
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To: SmithL
Its backers say the card will help all marginalized people — such as youth, ex-convicts and the homeless.

No it is not. It is for the criminal illegal alien border and immigration law violators.

4 posted on 04/28/2008 8:10:46 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: SmithL

How a get the hell out of the country card instead? Better yet, free travel if you take a SF liberal dumba** with you.

5 posted on 04/28/2008 8:19:05 AM PDT by mgc1122
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To: mgc1122

Stamped with “Do not pass GO, do not collect $300”

6 posted on 04/28/2008 8:22:55 AM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
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To: SmithL

just provide peace of mind,

peace of mind can be found back in Mexico..

better hurry...

They’re going fast...

Big sale...

Today only...

7 posted on 04/28/2008 8:28:25 AM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: SmithL

Too bad Homeland Security / ICE is too dense to see this as the perfect opportunity to run a covert operation.

8 posted on 04/28/2008 8:37:02 AM PDT by Charles Martel (The Tree of Liberty thirsts.)
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To: SmithL

Wouldn’t an ID of this nature simply make it easier to identify the illegals? This is like those t-shirt that have “I’m with Stupid” and the arrow is pointing up.

9 posted on 04/28/2008 8:43:14 AM PDT by politicalwit (AKA... A Tradition Continues...Now a Hoosier Freeper)
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To: SmithL

“It would give a little bit of insurance for people to have something in their hands,”

Anyone here LEGALLY already HAS proper identification/documentation.

10 posted on 04/28/2008 10:05:28 AM PDT by Kimberly GG (Don't blame me.....I support DUNCAN HUNTER.)
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To: SmithL
Only if it includes a GPS marker so we can locate them and put them on a container ship to Mars...
11 posted on 04/28/2008 4:46:07 PM PDT by tubebender (and just like that I lost another tag line to Bo the Nascar doggie)
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To: SmithL; 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; ...

Alien ID Ping!

12 posted on 04/28/2008 7:12:34 PM PDT by HiJinx (~ Support our Troops ~ ~)
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