GPD Considers IDs To Help Identify Undocumented Immigrants

12:27 AM, Dec 3, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Police are considering a system that would help them identify undocumented immigrants.

"They have nothing to show, I am who I am."

Marina Castillo came to America from Venezuela five years ago. She works at FaithAction International House as an immigration attorney.

She is documented but a majority of her clients are not.

"If someone is a victim of a crime and is so afraid, and cannot report the crime, everybody is not safe," explains Castillo.

"There is a lot of fear," said David Fraccaro, Executive Director, FaithAction International House.

Over the past year, Castillo and Fraccaro have worked with Greensboro Police to try to ease that fear.

"What we are doing here is unique and special," said Fraccaro.

They want identification cards for undocumented immigrants.

"It says we recognize you, we see you as human beings, you are residents, you deserve something at the very least that says you are who you say you are," explains Fraccaro.

"A lot of our immigrant population that comes here to Greensboro, they come from environments where the police department isn't trusted," explains Deputy Chief Dwight Crotts, Greensboro Police Department.

Crotts says the ID cards would not be a valid legal document, but would be a tool for police.

"If I stop you and what the information you were given sounded valid, and I could use this as a factor that may determine whether I write you a citation rather than taking you to jail," said Crotts.

"We do not enforce immigration laws, we're not involved in the immigration process at all as the Greensboro Police Department, so when we have those interactions, we need some mechanism, or try to find some mechanism, where the end result isn't that I have to take you to jail. This would provide one piece of information that could tilt the scale to where I wouldn't have to make that decision."

"They have to spend an additional 2 to 3 hours taking that person in, its tax payer money to hold them inside of a jail, when they really need to be out there more concerned with much more significant security threats," said Fraccaro.

Fraccaro says the cards would be more than just a piece of paper with a name and a picture. They would give peace of mind by letting the undocumented community know police want to help all people, regardless of their immigration status.

"Most importantly it's a goodwill step between local law enforcement and the immigrant community," said Fraccaro.

"What we're interested in is serving all of our residents in the City of Greensboro and that's all of our communities," said Crotts.

GPD is not funding nor sponsoring this program and these talks are in the very early stages.

The card has not been approved and they haven't decided what the requirements would be to get one.

Last year, Winston-Salem approved an identification card for undocumented immigrants.

It, like the one being considered in Greensboro, is not a valid legal ID but it's something they recognize.

The non-profit group CHANGE provided the cards.

WFMY News 2

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