Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 22
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
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Community Welcomes Identification Cards, Municipalities, Mercer County Accept Them

Dilshanie Perera

The Princeton Community Identification Card is the latest project of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), a Princeton-based non-profit organization that aims to protect and defend the civil rights of Latinos in the region through advocacy, legal assistance, and education.

Recognized and endorsed by the Borough and Township governments, and their respective police departments, as well as the Mercer County Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office, the community ID cards are intended to assist those who previously had no positive photo verification, thereby protecting them from anonymity in emergencies and allowing them greater access to community resources.

Observing that the card’s availability in Princeton follows the success of a similar identification project that the organization began in Trenton, LALDEF Treasurer Maria Juega said that the cards are for everyone, and particularly for those “in the community who are marginalized for one reason or another, whether they are unauthorized immigrants, parolees, whether they are coming out of prison, or are folks in recovery from addiction, or whether they’re simply homeless or poor. For whatever the reason, they don’t have the paperwork to get government-issued IDs.”

Now, any resident of Princeton may obtain such an identification card at LALDEF’s office at the Nassau Presbyterian Church at 61 Nassau Street on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon.

The cost, which may be waived, is $10 for adults and $5 for youth under 18. Proof of identity and proof of domicile are required. To prove identity, one should bring in any one of the following: a passport issued from any country, a U.S. driver’s license, a consular ID card, a New Jersey or Mercer County photo ID, a permanent resident card (green card), or a U.S. work authorization card. Any two of the following would also be accepted for proof of identification: a birth certificate from any country, a driver’s license from the country of origin, a government or voter’s ID card from any country, a social security card, a letter from a sponsoring organization, or a library card.

To prove residence, one must bring in an electric bill, phone bill, mortgage statement, bank or financial account statement, copy of a lease or tax bill, or any other bill or official letter imprinted with one’s name and address.

Chair of the LALDEF Board of Trustees Patricia Fernandez-Kelly noted that “in order to make [the project] possible at all, a number of people had to come together in order to accept the community id cards. The reason that it works is because a hospital will accept it as a proper form of identification, as will the police department, the Borough authorities, schools, and places of commerce.”

Referencing the national discourse against undocumented immigrants, Ms. Fernandez-Kelly said she was impressed by the reaction to the cards. “This could easily have been portrayed as ‘aiding and abetting,’ and instead, you have this large group of people understanding what these issues really are. That is very important.”

The list of places where the Princeton Community ID card may be presented in town include: the Borough and Township offices, any clinic or doctor’s office, public parks, including the Community Park Pool, the public library, public schools, private social services and charitable organizations, and some area banks and businesses.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 1-877-452-5333.

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