Identification, Bureaucracy, and The Self

 “Catholic Church Is Now Issuing Undocumented Immigrants ID Cards” -- Vice News, 2018, 6:19 --

What forms of ID do you carry in your wallet? I always carry my driver’s license, faculty ID, and student ID. I also have a boating license and medical card that can be used as a form of ID in most cases. Now imagine that you had none of these and no way to obtain any bureaucratically-recognized ID. What good and services that require ID would you now be excluded from? Gym memberships, library access, equipment rentals, post boxes, alcohol sales, and so much more…  

This video profiles a Texas church which has begun to issue ID cards for perish members. Why would a religious organization do such a thing? Because many undocumented immigrants cannot obtain an official ID from any other institution. Aside from being a proof of membership, identification can validate one’s sense of self… it is proof that an official group recognizes your existence, whether it be a school, community, or country. These parish ID cards are not official and cannot be substituted for official forms of ID (e.g., drivers licenses), but the parish IDs are useful for other purposes, such as renting equipment and other circumstances where proof of ID is needed. Furthermore, police officers in the area have been encouraged to recognize the parish IDs when writing tickets and conducting other business. It is ultimately up to the officers’ discretion, so perhaps bureaucratic policy should be amended to validate the parish IDs. What do you think?

From the video’s description: Police departments in Dallas and surrounding counties have agreed to allow their officers to accept ID cards issued by Dallas Area Interfaith, the Diocese of Dallas and several local parishes. These interfaith IDs have no legal bearing - it still remains up to an officer’s discretion whether to accept the identification (which includes a photo, name, DOB, address and the name of the parish that issued them the ID), but the desired outcome would be to quell some of the concerns present in the immigrant community, and help officers police more efficiently.