Charlotte considers municipal I.D. cards for immigrants

Charlotte is considering a municipal I.D. law that would make it easier for undocumented immigrants to access public services.

Other cities have adopted program to help immigrants to access public services

Charlotte is looking into whether to adopt a municipal I.D. program that would help undocumented immigrants gain a form of valid identification and access public services, according to the Charlotte Observer. The mayor has said he supports the idea, while the school board and police say they are open to the idea, but have yet to support it. A number of other cities have already adopted similar programs.

Mayor supports idea

Mayor Dan Clodfelter has already indicated that he supports the creation of a municipal I.D. card that would be available to all Charlotte residents, including undocumented immigrants. He has asked the Immigrant Integration Task Force to research the idea, which could be put to a City Council vote early next year.

The mayor notes that other cities, such as Los Angeles, Washington, and New York City, have already adopted similar municipal identification cards or are planning to do so. As such, Charlotte would be able to base its own I.D. cards on models successfully used by other cities. In addition to giving undocumented immigrants a form of identification, advocates say the cards could be used for legally residing North Carolina residents to comply with the state's new voter I.D. laws.

School board, police open to idea

While the details of the program have yet to be worked out, the cards could help both the police force and Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools. Undocumented immigrants are currently unable to apply for a state driver's license. While the new I.D. cards would not change that fact, the cards could mean that undocumented immigrants would not automatically be arrested during minor traffic stops for not having valid identification. Instead, police say, they could be issued with a citation for driving without a license.

Additionally, Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools currently requires criminal background checks on parents of pupils for those parents to participate in volunteer programs at their children's schools. Because undocumented immigrants don't have a Social Security number, it is impossible for the school board to perform a criminal background check on them. The proposed I.D. cards could make it easier to perform criminal background checks, although such details have yet to be worked out. While neither the school board nor the police force has yet to support the city I.D. proposal, they say they are open to the idea.

Resolving immigration issues

As the above article shows, immigration to the U.S. is a highly complicated issue for all immigrants, regardless of whether they come to the U.S. with or without documentation. Because of the complicated nature of the U.S. immigration system, anybody with an immigration-related issue should contact our office to speak with one of our attorneys. With qualified legal advice, clients will have the help they need to successfully resolve their problems and hopefully maintain their lives in the U.S.

Keywords: Charlotte, I.D. cards