‘Community ID’ card now an option for undocumented immigrants, homeless people in Broward

‘Community ID’ card now an option for undocumented immigrants, homeless people in Broward

Starting this month, undocumented immigrants, homeless people and others can apply for a “community ID” card through Legal Aid Service of Broward County.

The county-funded Community Identification Project aims to serve thousands of Broward residents who lack an identification card and cannot access vital resources.

“We are very pleased that this was unanimously approved. We will be having monthly events and office services by appointment. The demand and need is great,” said program manager Iván Parra.

Parra estimates that the ID could help more than 50,000 people in Broward. It will enable people to pick up their children from school and reduce encounters with law enforcement, obtain services such as the COVID-19 vaccine, library cards and access to shelter for their families during a hurricane, storm or other emergency.

Parra says the ID “is not a driver’s license, it is not a voter card, it is not a document that gives immigration status, it is not a document that allows one to get on a plane and travel,” he said. “It’s a county ID for people in the county who have more peace of mind in their daily activities and say ‘This is me.’”

It does not entitle anyone to receive any welfare benefits and does not have any impact on an individual’s immigration status.

To apply for a community identification card, individuals must first register for an orientation session. A session scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5, in Miramar is already full. The next session is Saturday, March 5, in Pompano Beach.

The first in-person event (by appointment only) will be held at the Miramar Multi-Service Complex, 6700 Miramar Parkway, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To register, visit BrowardLegalAid.org/CommunityID. Both events are by appointment only.

The ID card includes a photo, date of birth and address, and costs $20.

Any Broward resident can get this community ID, though the document is especially useful for formerly incarcerated people, foster youth, transgender people, homeless people, new immigrants, refugees, or anyone who may have difficulty getting a government-issued ID, says Broward Legal Aid. When applying for this new ID, immigration status will not be asked.

“It should be clarified that this is not exclusively for undocumented immigrants, this is for any Broward resident who needs an ID,” Parra said.

“This ID is vital to accessing essential services such as health care, housing, emergency shelter, legal assistance and financial services,” Debra Koprowski, Broward Legal Aid deputy executive director, said in a statement. “The Community ID Initiative provides Broward County residents with a trusted, locally recognized form of identification accepted by community partners such as law enforcement, county agencies, health care centers, schools and cultural centers, and non-profit organizations.”

Because Legal Aid is a non-profit entity and not a government agency it will not share individuals’ private information, Parra said. “The Legal Aid Services of Broward office was authorized by the county to issue IDs and make sure people meet the requirements,” Parra said.

“An ID is issued immediately, we erase everything, to the point that if it must be renewed in two years, we have to start the process all over again because we don’t keep that information. We are not required to share any information with any agency at any level,” Parra said, addressing the fear that some residents might have about registering their data.

This card is especially significant for the immigrant community in Florida, where more than one in five residents is an immigrant, according to the American Immigration Council. “In 2016, an estimated 775,000 undocumented immigrants made up 18 percent of Florida’s immigrant population and 4 percent of the state population,” according to the council.

An initiative of the FaithAction Network, this type of identification has been approved in other counties such as Alachua, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade.

Over the past eight years, FaithAction and its network partners have provided more than 30,000 identification cards, according to FaithAction.org.

Many residents, including citizens, are not eligible for a driver’s license or state-issued ID, making proving their identity for many everyday activities challenging, Broward Legal Aid says.

How to request the card:

What is the process for obtaining an ID?

You must attend an orientation; show required documents; make the payment; and if everything is in order, the community identification card will be issued and will be valid for two years.

What documents need to be submitted?

One of the following must be submitted:

  • Passport from country of origin (expired or valid)

  • Driver’s license or identification card with visible hologram (expired or current)

  • Foreign citizen identification card or “voter identification cards” (from country of origin)

  • Consular or embassy identification

  • Previously Issued FaithAction ID Card

  • Military identification cards, from the U.S. or country of origin

Proof that you are a Broward resident (one of the following):

  • Utility bill (cable, water, electricity, gas, internet, phone)

  • Rental agreement (if currently valid)

  • Rent payment receipt (only if they have the address)

  • Bank statements

  • medical bill

  • credit card bill

Where and how do I apply?

To apply, participants must attend one of the Broward Community ID Drives held periodically at different locations or apply in person, by appointment only. Orientations will be given in English, Spanish and Creole.

You can register at: ID https://linktr.ee/BrowardLegalAid. For more information, you can call 954-951-5387.

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