A project of the Center for Community Change

IDs go viral

It’s great when a good idea starts to replicate itself. It looks like we’re gonna start seeing community IDs take hold in other communities. Lexington is the next locale we’ve heard of that is looking into passing these- great news!

SLANNEN@HERALD-LEADER.COM

A Lexington commission studying immigration issues will recommend that city officials issue local identification cards to undocumented immigrants and others.

The group’s report also will recommend that Lexington officials lobby state leaders in Frankfort to allow [undocumented] immigrants to obtain Kentucky driver’s licenses.

Those are two of eight recommendations discussed and voted on by commission members last night at City Hall. The final report could be delivered to Mayor Jim Newberry by the end of the week.

In June, Newberry used an executive order to form a nine-member commission to recommend to him what city officials can or should do relative to the immigration issue.

Details of how recommendations might be implemented and become policy were not discussed last night.

Similar policies in other communities have generated controversy:

• Last month, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer introduced a plan to allow driver’s license applicants to use a valid foreign passport in place of the usually required Social Security number. The plan goes into effect in December. He has since had to defend the plan from Republican leaders there who claim he is aiding terrorists, according to Newsday.

• In July, the city of New Haven, Conn., became the first in the nation to begin issuing local identification cards to anyone who is a resident of the city. A purpose of the card was to help someone open a bank account or identify themselves if they did not have a state or federal ID.

• In Kentucky, Richmond briefly considered offering local IDs two years ago, but quickly scrapped the idea after negative reaction.

Last night, six commission members voted to recommend ID cards. Commission member and Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson opposed the recommendation arguing that cardholders should submit to fingerprinting to better identify them. Commission member James Keller said people wouldn’t participate if that was a requirement. Commission chairman Glen Krebs also voted against the measure, questioning whether the cards are legally valid.

Larson also disagreed with a majority of the commissioners on the issue of whether local law enforcement should seek federal immigration law training, or 287g. He submitted an alternate recommendation that Fayette sheriff’s deputies or Fayette jail employees be trained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of people arrested and detained at the jail. All other commissioners voted in favor of a recommendation that stated no LFUCG agency should enter into a 287g program at this time as well as commending Lexington police for their efforts to foster relationships with all parts of the community.

Doug Roy, a member and Web master for Kentuckians for Immigration Reform and Enforcement said the recommendations show a disconnect between Lexington and not only the rest of Kentucky, but a number of states in the nation.

“It sounds like the commission is out of touch with the average Kentucky citizen,” Roy said.

Freddy Peralta, president of Kentuckians for the Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, praised the commission’s recommendation, especially the part about driver’s licenses.

If all people could obtain a state license, it would make the roads safer and lower insurance rates, he said. A coalition will lobby for the issue during the legislative session this winter, he said.

“We’ll definitely do what we can to make sure these recommendations go forward,” he said.

Commission member Wendy DeVier was not present at last night’s meeting. She has indicated she intends to submit an alternate report that departs from the commission’s report.

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