Launched July 7, 2018, the City of Little Rock Identification Card program has issued 262 cards to date with more than 1,000 people having scheduled appointments to apply for the useful ID.
According to the report “New Americans in Little Rock,” there were 29,267 immigrants living in the Little Rock metro area in 2016, constituting 4 percent of the population. These residents contributed an estimated $2 billion to the city’s GDP in 2016. This population experiences a unique set of challenges. Among them is the lack of access to identification cards, because without identification, it is impossible to open a bank account or acquire utility services.
Without bank accounts, many of Little Rock’s residents rely on cash for day-to-day business which makes them targets for robbery, according to Social Science Research Journal. (Elsevier)
“Media reports and prior research suggest that undocumented Latino migrants are disproportionately robbed because they rely on a cash-only economy and they are reluctant to report crimes to law-enforcement,” the journal states.
When a series of robberies committed against Latino residents in Little Rock, Police Chief Kenton Buckner reached out to City Director Joan Adcock. A long time resident of Southwest Little Rock where much of the city’s Latino population lives, Adcock spearheaded the Working Together in the Community Group to unite Little Rock neighborhoods, especially those with a high number of Spanish-speaking residents. After three years of discussion with this group, the City of Little Rock launched the identification card program to help residents without driver’s licenses gain access to important services.
The cards will help more than just the immigrant community; homeless persons and older residents without driver’s licenses are also expected to benefit. Additionally, any Little Rock resident with the proper documentation is eligible to apply for the card, which is $10. Fee waivers are available based on the applicant’s income.
Visit the City of Little Rock’s website to learn more about the program and frequently asked questions.
If you are a member, browse the National Civic League’s Promising Practices Database to find additional immigrant integration projects.
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