Forsyth sheriff committed to ID program despite immigration order

2
448

An executive order issued last week by President Trump will not prevent the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office from continuing to participate in the FaithAction ID program, which provides photo IDs to undocumented people that can be presented in encounters with law enforcement.

Lonnie Albright, the police attorney for the sheriff’s office, said he concluded after reading the executive order that it does not jeopardize the agency’s participation, adding that “the sheriff is still on board with the FaithAction ID program.”

As outlined in a PowerPoint presentation, the sheriff’s office’s participation in the FaithAction ID program includes sending staff to local ID card drives to answer questions and “provide a sense of safety and welcome.”

“These identification cards aren’t just given out like jelly beans on Halloween,” Albright said. “Applicants for a FaithAction ID card are actually vetted and that process may surprise you when you view our training presentation.”

Applicants are required to provide proof of identification, such as a passport, and proof of address, such as a phone bill or power bill received within the past two months.

According to the sheriff’s office’s training presentation, “The FaithAction ID card may be accepted by [law enforcement] officers as a valid form of identification where acceptance of the ID would alleviate a custodial arrest,” although the decision about whether to accept the ID is left to the discretion of the officer.

FaithAction, the Greensboro agency that issues the IDs, convened its law enforcement partners on Jan. 27 to clarify what the executive orders mean. Executive Director David Fracarro said he reminded the law enforcement representatives that 287(g), a federal partnership that allows local law enforcement to become immigration agents under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security, is still entirely voluntary.

“We expect nothing to change,” Fraccaro said. “We still need them as partners. If they were going to be partners [with the feds] now or in the future in the 287(g) program, that could empower certain officers to be more aggressive at the street level, and we probably wouldn’t want them to remain involved in the ID program in that case.”

FaithAction has an ID drive scheduled for tomorrow in Greensboro, and Fraccaro expects representatives of the city’s police department to attend.

“Our hope is that the police department says that ‘we’ve read these order,’ and that they’re not wanting anything to change with the relationship, that they want to stress that their job is not to enforce federal immigration law, and they’re job is to protect local residents,” Fraccaro said. “That’s what we expect to hear.”