- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A nonprofit Latino advocacy group in South Bend is planning to issue identification cards for immigrants illegally living in the U.S. in hopes of making their lives easier.

The South Bend Community Resident Cards will be issued starting Jan. 3, the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/2hOVNAB ) reported.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he would sign an executive order requiring city departments, such as police, fire and parks, to recognize the ID.

“We have got to make sure that the city is supporting everyone who lives here,” the mayor said.

La Casa de Amistad Inc. officials hope area businesses will accept it for circumstances such as picking up children from school or obtaining college transcripts, bank statements and pharmacy prescriptions. The cards won’t qualify as legal identification issued by the government, but will require holders to prove identity by showing a passport, Mexican consulate ID or a utility bill.

The card will appeal to an estimated 4,000 people in the area who can’t obtain driver’s licenses or state ID cards because of their immigration status, said the organization’s executive director, Sam Centellas. He said the group would like to see “immigration reform come that will help people become documented so they don’t have to do things like this.”

According to Centellas, the project has been in the making for about year and was not motivated by the election of Republican Donald Trump, who pledged in his campaign to deport people living in the U.S. illegally and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Oliver Davis, vice president of the South Bend Common Council, said it’s important all citizens and those who are working on obtaining citizenship feel comfortable living in the community. He said that’s especially true “with all of the climate that we have had to deal with over this year, where people are frightened to see what’s going to happen in the future.”

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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