Campaign pushes Tucson ID for undocumented workers

Calling the police for help frightens Hector Cruz Robles, a day laborer at the Southside Worker Center.

He and many other day laborers say they avoid reporting crime because they don’t have government-issued identification, which could make police officers suspect they lack immigration papers and prompt a call to the Border Patrol under Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, said the center’s coordinator, Eleazar Castellanos.

Cruz Robles said a municipal ID that doesn’t require him to prove his immigration status would go a long way toward easing his mind when it comes to calling the police.

A coalition of grass-roots organizers, including those at the Southside Worker Center and the Primavera Foundation of Tucson, want to do just that with the Todo Tucson ID campaign. They say a Tucson municipal ID would make the city safer and help undocumented immigrants, the homeless and other vulnerable groups.

“Our idea is to at least get something with which we can say, ‘This is who I am and this is my name,’” said campaign spokeswoman Belem Chagolla.

If the Todo Tucson ID became a reality, Tucson would join large cities like New York City and Los Angeles and smaller cities like Richmond, California, and New Haven, Connecticut, that already issue municipal IDs.

But the campaign faces stiff resistance from opponents of undocumented immigration, such as Republican state Sen. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills.

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