The creation of an official Charlotte ID card is still only a proposal, but critics are already lining up, including a national political action group that claims the city’s plan will “aid and abet illegal immigrants.”
Two immigration reform groups – the national Americans for Legal
Immigration PAC and NC Listen – say they will press North Carolina
legislators to stop cities from creating IDs, which are of most benefit
to people who don’t have Social Security numbers.
In Charlotte, that population is made up largely of immigrants of all
nationalities who are not in the country legally. They can’t get a
Social Security number or apply for a driver’s license, and they are
subject to arrest and deportation.
About a half-dozen U.S. cities have already created municipal IDs,
which experts see as a way of dealing locally with immigration issues
that aren’t being solved on a national level.
Charlotte, like many of those other cities, has an immigrant
population that is outpacing the growth rate of both whites and blacks,
leading to entire neighborhoods and schools where foreign-born people
are in the majority.
City leaders say that accepting them as residents is a practical
matter. However, the ID proposal remains controversial and critics
question whether it’s legal.
“It’s against federal law to aid and abet people in the country
illegally and if this isn’t aiding and abetting, I don’t know what is,”
said Ron Woodard of NC Listen.
William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is more blunt.
“We will ask the General Assembly to stop any North Carolina city from
helping illegal immigrants,” he said.
Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter met with the city’s Immigrant
Integration Task Force last month and asked the group to research a city
ID program that can be used by all citizens to access community
The task force was created to craft policies that will make Charlotte
more welcoming to immigrants of all nationalities, particularly those
interested in starting businesses.
Recommendations – including whether to adopt a municipal ID program –
are scheduled to be presented to the City Council in February