South Bend launches city ID program

 La Casa de Amistad in South Bend will begin issuing city IDs to people in January.
La Casa de Amistad in South Bend will begin issuing city IDs to people in January. (WNDU)
Published: Dec. 15, 2016 at 6:39 PM EST
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Illegal immigrants living in South Bend will soon be able to get their own ID.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg plans to sign an executive order Friday morning to launch the new city ID program.

The mayor is adamant that people who get an ID can't use it to vote or drive a car.

He says it's meant to increase public safety, allowing people to use the ID's to pick up prescriptions, talk to police or even get a library card.

South Bend city leaders say it's time for many families to come out of the shadows.

“This is something that we can do to relieve people's fears. Because, people are afraid right now,” common council member Oliver Davis said.

“They're not able to do basic things like call the police. Because the first thing a police officer asks is, 'do you have identification?'” La Casa de Amistad executive director Sam Centellas said.

By next month, the answer to that question will be 'Yes', thanks to a new city ID program. La Casa de Amistad will print picture IDs for people who may not be citizens or those who can't get a driver’s license.

“Those who need medication, you're required to have documentation. Parents picking up their children in schools need identification as well,” St. Adalbert Social Justice Committee member Jesusa Rivera said.

“This is about making sure that everybody who lives here is able to show who they are. And I think that makes us a safer city, and a more inclusive place to live,” mayor Buttigieg said.

The city IDs will be valid for two years. Starting the first week of January, people can come to La Casa and fill out the application. But they'll need to provide some proof. Centellas says to get one, you'll need about 300 points, you can get by showing a passport, a Mexican consulate ID or a utility bill with your name on it.

“Just like the BMV. You'll come in, take your photo, verify your information. We'll take down all of your details. We're even going to include a donor registry,” Centellas said.

“Because of the way the system is set up now, there's definitely opportunity for us. Even if it's just this small city ID, it's a form of opportunity,” Rivera said.

The new ID's will cost $25 for adults, $10 for kids.

La Casa plans to start taking applications on January 3rd.

Once people apply, they'll wait for their new ID to arrive in the mail.

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