Lucia De la Cruz hasn’t been able to obtain a membership to Homestead’s public library branch, despite the fact that she’s lived in the city for 15 years.
De la Cruz, whose five children were born in the United States, is undocumented and because of this she doesn’t have access to any type of current identification cards, a requisite to be granted a library card.
“There are many times that I’m asked for an I.D. When I was looking for a pediatrician for my children, I was asked for one, too, so it’s difficult,” said De la Cruz, who immigrated from Guatemala.
On Tuesday, Miami-Dade commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that could help De la Cruz and others in her situation receive some form of legal documentation.
The commission asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez to present a report about the feasibility of creating a local identification card, which would allow county residents to obtain public services.
The majority of Miami-Dade residents could obtain the identification document, but the measure is expected to mainly benefit people who lack access to driver’s licenses and other types of state identification, such as undocumented immigrants, transgender individuals and the homeless.
Gimenez has until December to present a report and an implementation plan for the program to the commission.
Close to a dozen cities across the country offer an identification card similar to the one being proposed in Miami-Dade, among them New York and Los Angeles.
The resolution was sponsored by Commissioner Juan Carlos Zapata and co-sponsored by commissioners Daniela Levine-Cava and Rebeca Sosa. On July 12th, the proposal was unanimously approved by the county government’s Strategic Planning and Operations Committee.
Commissioner Barbara Jordan requested that the proposed resolution include wording to protect applicants’ rights.
Jordan said she was worried that the information provided by applicants to obtain the document could be shared with federal authorities and eventually be used to deport undocumented immigrants, for example.
“I wouldn’t like for it to have that consequence, which is not our intention,” she said.
Labor activists and organizations in support of women and immigrants attended Tuesday’s county meeting to show their support.
Gabriel Garcia-Vera, a spokesman for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Rights, said the I.D. cards would help victims of abuse seek help from authorities.
“Many of them are scared because they believe if they go to the police to accuse someone who abused them, and if they say they don’t have an I.D., then they will be arrested and deported,” said Garcia-Vera.
The transgender community, especially those who are transitioning and haven’t changed their identity legally, could also benefit from the document.
“Many of them are discriminated,” said Garcia-Vera, adding that with a new I.D, they could have an updated photo and other information available.
Follow Brenda Medina on Twitter @BrendaMedinar