RALEIGH (WTVD) --Immigrant activists planned to meet Monday evening to discuss their pitch for "FaithAction ID" cards in Wake County. The IDs are designed for undocumented immigrants, and they're not without controversy.
Activists say they've brought up the idea to local law enforcement agencies such as the Wake County Sheriff's Office and they plan to push the IDs during a community forum with Sheriff Donnie Harrison this week.
About 6,000 undocumented immigrants are currently using the IDs in regions in North Carolina and Ohio, according to Raleigh-based El Pueblo, which is part of the "FaithAction ID Network," made up of nearly a dozen organizations supporting the IDs. The form of identification is currently being used in six counties in North Carolina, including Orange County. Immigrant activists want to expand the IDs to more regions such as Wake County.
North Carolina's controversial House Bill 318 initially prevented cities from accepting IDs not issued by a government agency. An amendment changed that somewhat, allowing law enforcement more ways to verify an undocumented immigrants' identity.
El Pueblo says the FaithAction IDs give undocumented immigrants identification to be used for law enforcement, schools, health centers and even libraries.
Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 318, dubbed the "Immigration Bill" by many, into law in October. At that time, he said law enforcement should enforce all the laws, including immigration laws.
"My goal is to try to prevent a crime, not to react to crimes after they occur," he told ABC11's Jon Camp. "Once you react to the crime you waited too long. My goal is to prevent those crimes from occurring and that's exactly what my role is as Governor, to prevent the crime not to react to the crime."
But El Pueblo Community Organizer Iliana Santillan says many undocumented immigrants are afraid to report crimes because they don't have an ID card to show law enforcement. She says having these IDs in more counties helps the community.
"It's a matter of safety," Santillan said. "How can we expect to live in a safe community when crimes aren't being reported because people don't feel comfortable doing so without having an ID? At schools, we've heard a lot of stories where parents go to school and they try to pick up their child and sometimes they don't accept the form of ID. So with a FaithAction ID, it's easier."
The Raleigh Police Department says it hasn't formalized a position on the IDs. The Sheriff's Office confirms the Sheriff has met with the group about the IDs but it is unclear what his stance is.
Tonight's meeting is for community organizers, while a community forum is being held Wednesday. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison is scheduled to attend the forum with El Pueblo from 6:30-8:30 pm at Good Shepherd Church, 121 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh.
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