Durham Council endorses officers' acceptance of Mexican ID | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, November 15, 2010

Durham Council endorses officers' acceptance of Mexican ID

Posted by on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Durham's City Council took a symbolic stance on a sharply divisive issue Monday night when it passed a resolution endorsing the practice by the Durham Police Department to accept the Matricula Consular, the national Mexican identification card for non-residents, as valid identification during traffic stops and other police interaction. The resolution passed five to two, with Council members Eugene Brown and Howard Clement voting against it.

Whether the Council voted on the matter, the city's police department has actively been accepting the identification from Mexican nationals when stopping or questioning people suspected of criminal activity, said Police Chief Jose Lopez. The acceptance of the resolution (PDF) would not affect that practice, he added.

Lopez said a resolution from the Council would, however, "garner the trust" of Latino immigrants who currently might be reluctant to report crimes or testify as witnesses because they're afraid they themselves could be targets of police investigation if they are in this country illegally.

As the Council deliberated, Brown opposed the vote, saying Durham as a city should not be weighing in on an issue regulated by federal authorities.

"This is a federal issue and in my judgment, above my pay grade," Brown said. "If our very able police chief believes this is a reasonable, pragmatic and useful crime fighting tool, then I accept his decision. ... I wasn't elected to micromanage the Durham Police Department." Brown took the same stance in June when the Council boycotted travel to Arizona in light of the controversial new immigration law requiring law officers to demand documentation of anyone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

Clement voiced doubts over whether the Mexican ID cards were secure. Though she eventually voted in support, Mayor Pro-Tempore Cora Cole-McFadden vocally debated whether it even necessary for the Council to vote on the matter.

The proposal had been brought to the council via the Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Durham Immigrant Solidarity Committee, and was introduced at a Council work session last week. The resolution initially proposed that police and other community institutions across the city accept the Mexican national ID card as a valid form of identification, particularly as the requirements to obtain a N.C. driver's license now include a Social Security number.

Over the weekend, Mayor Bill Bell said, he realized that the Council didn't have jurisdiction over banks or other civil institutions and that if the Council passed a resolution on the matter, it should be strictly limited to police activities, in which the Council does have a stake.

Ever since the resolution was placed on Monday's agenda, the elected officials have been flooded with e-mails from all over the country on the matter. Those who urged support said the resolution was a way to build bridges with Mexican nationals in Durham. Many others have denounced the idea, saying it unfairly protects illegal immigrants without proper U.S.-issued identification.

Lopez said the ID card is simply a way of identifying a person police encounter. Police would still have the discretion to arrest or cite the holder for any criminal activity they observed of the person, he said.

"It does not give the holder of the card any specific rights other than we know who the person is," Lopez told the Council.

Several local and out-of-town commenters signed up to speak Monday, but a handful left the Council chambers grumbling loudly when Bell limited commenters to only those who were residents of Durham. Just as with a flood of e-mails elected officials have received, many commenters opposed to the resolution spoke on the larger issue of immigration reform in the country, rather than the specific practice of the Durham Police Department of accepting a Mexican ID as a valid form of identification.

"We’re asking folks to come in this community, stay here, work and get services, and they are breaking the law. And that is wrong," said Victoria Peterson, an outspoken resident and director of a nonprofit vocational program. "A lot of the illegal folks in this community are taking our jobs," she added.

Peter Katz, one of few supporters of the resolution who spoke, said he feared a failure by the Council to endorse the Mexican ID would "drive a wedge" between Latino immigrants and the Durham police.

"I wouldn’t want to live in a Durham where perhaps 10 percent of the population is afraid to report a crime," Katz said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

CONTACT MR paul smith call (+2349055346865 or WhatsApp him through this number +2349055346865 or email:
illuminatiworldofsociety1@gmail.com
Hello everyone I am …

by avalon edgar on Strength in Numbers: Durham for All Launches 10K Strong Campaign (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

Most Recent Comments

CONTACT MR paul smith call (+2349055346865 or WhatsApp him through this number +2349055346865 or email:
illuminatiworldofsociety1@gmail.com
Hello everyone I am …

by avalon edgar on Strength in Numbers: Durham for All Launches 10K Strong Campaign (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

The article clearly states the building would be privately funded with the state/local gov pitching in for infrastructure enhancement. The …

by Hunter23 on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

I truly admire the passion and support the message. But it seems standing on an overpass during rush hour traffic …

by Diane Alenezi on High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All" (News)

This will turn the Mordecai neighborhood & surrounding neighborhoods (one of the only places in downtown Raleigh with any character …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation