Local News

Groups trying to create ID for undocumented Triangle residents

Posted December 17, 2015 6:44 p.m. EST

— Several nonprofit groups are working to create valid identification for undocumented workers in the Triangle and have reached out to authorities in Wake, Durham and Orange counties for assistance.

A new state law prohibits state and local agencies in North Carolina from accepting ID cards issued by foreign governments, such as the Mexican consulate in Raleigh, as proof of identity. The law also precludes the use of locally produced IDs by state and local agencies.

The law exempts law enforcement agencies from the prohibitions, and Latino advocacy group El Pueblo and other organizations hope local authorities will lead the way in wider acceptance of community-based IDs.

"If you are not able to identify yourself, often you can’t interact with local businesses. A lot of times, you can’t present yourself to local law enforcement," said Angeline Echeverria, executive director of El Pueblo. "It’s something that permeates every aspect of community members’ lives, so it’s really important that folks are able to identify themselves and feel confident that they have appropriate identification for any situation that they are in."

Locally produced IDs are already used in Greensboro and Alamance County, and Echeverria said the cards her organization is looking to produce wouldn't replace a driver’s license or passport and wouldn't grant any of the privileges of a government-issued IDs.

"All community members, both documented folks as well as undocumented folks, can present sufficient documentation to get an ID with their picture on it that they can use at local businesses and with law enforcement agencies," she said, adding that the backers of the plan are putting together a proposal to present to area law enforcement agencies.