Goshen Resident ID Cards Will Give Sense Of Belonging To Community

The Goshen Resident ID card program is just kicking off, and proponents of the measure think it will be very beneficial for the community. GRID cards are not a replacement for state or federal-issue IDs, and can’t be used for a driver’s license or to register to vote. Residents who apply will need proof of their identity such as a birth certificate, a passport, driver’s license, or other documents. GRID cards will offer proof of residence and verify identity in situations such as interacting with police. Whenever police are called, they need to be able to identify witnesses and suspects, and when those people don’t have government issued ID for any reason, that can be difficult. People who can’t easily prove their identity are often hesitant to call police to report crimes for this reason. Having a GRID card ensures police can identify people, and gives people confidence in their documentation to call the police when they need help. GRID cards would also be helpful in proving identity to pick up prescriptions, applying for library cards, and getting utility services. Some local businesses have also promised discounts for cardholders.
The GRID card program is spearheaded by the Center for Healing and Hope and the Elkhart County HOPE network. Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center for Healing & Hope, said that “some residents are so fearful that they are not meeting their basic needs, such as getting prescriptions or visiting a doctor. Some are reluctant to take their children to school activities. If we can relieve some of this anxiety for our immigrant neighbors with this Goshen resident identification card, we will have made Goshen a much more friendly and hospitable home for everyone.”
The idea of towns having identification cards for citizens isn’t completely new. South Bend, New York City, NY; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Oakland, CA also have municipal identification card programs.
The card is intended for anyone in Goshen, not just immigrants. It will help those who have difficulty getting a driver’s license or other photo ID, which includes immigrants but also the elderly, the formerly incarcerated, and the homeless.
Applications have opened, and people are beginning to apply. North Goshen Mennonite Church pastor Mark Schloneger posted on Facebook on November 17th about applying for a card as a gesture of solidarity, saying, “I applied for this card (arriving in two weeks) because I know that both the card and my participation will particularly help some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
North Goshen is a congregation with many Latino and/or recent immigrant attenders, who will hopefully be helped by the new ID card program.
Overall, the GRID program hopes to provide a sense of security and belonging to all Goshen’s residents, and make our community safer.