COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - The City of Covington said it wants to further establish itself as a “welcoming” community and will support a program that will make photo ID cards for immigrants and others who need them.
The Covington Board of Commissioners voted to recognize MARCC ID cards as a valid from of identification for the purposes of using government services or interacting with law enforcement and other public safety agencies.
The Esperanza Latino Center of Northern Kentucky said they plan to start issuing the MARCC ID cards at periodic “ID drives” in March or April.
The cards are named after the sponsoring interfaith organization Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, which started the ID project in 2016 in partnership with Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio upon request of the City of Cincinnati.
In a news release, Covington City Manager David Johnston said the ID cards will fill a need in Covington.
“In the City’s efforts to fulfill our policy of being a ‘welcoming’ community, we hope to assist all people who choose to call Covington home as they access services locally,” Johnston said. “This program will help them do that.”
According to MARCC’S Executive Director Margaret Fox, about 2,200 ID cards have been issued in Greater Cincinnati since the first registration in August 2016, and they’re used for things like applying for a library card, accessing health services, reporting a crime, and visiting a relative in jail.
The cards contain four vital elements: A photograph, name, address, and date of birth.
The cards issued in Covington will cost $15 and be valid for one year, said Leo Calderon, Chairman of Esperanza’s Board of Directors and also Director of Latino Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University.
To get the MARCC ID cards, applicants will need two documents:
- A document that lists their current address, such as a utility bill, a credit card bill, a bank statement or a lease.
- A document that includes their date of birth, such as a passport, a birth certificate, a driver’s license, a foreign national ID card from their home country, a military ID, or what’s called a Matrícula Consular.
“We want to make sure that Spanish-speaking residents feel a part of the community, and to do that, they need to be able to access services and programs,” said Irene Encarnación, Executive Director of Esperanza. “For that, they often need a photo ID.”
The cards can serve as general ID cards for anyone, but many who access them do not have access to government-issued ID cards, such as the homeless, people who don’t drive, people recently released from incarceration, and people new to this country.