It was 2016 and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a problem. Wanting to coax the small city's approximately 4,500 undocumented immigrants out of the shadows to help them access services, Buttigieg toyed with the idea of some type of municipal identification card for those who couldn't obtain driver's licenses or other government IDs.
The result was an innovative, first-of-its-kind governmentally endorsed, privately run program — one Buttigieg could tout on the presidential primary campaign trail where Latinos are a key voting group. But he never does, NBC News reports.
Working closely with La Casa de Amistad, South Bend's main Latino outreach center, Buttigieg and the nonprofit's executive director, Sam Centellas, imagined a "Community Resident Card" program in which the IDs would be paid for, created and distributed by the group — a private organization — not the city. Buttigieg's part to make it all work was to sign an executive order requiring local services and institutions to accept the card as a valid form of identification.
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"Well, it's certainly something we're proud of. I could probably talk about it more,” Buttigieg told NBC News. "It's probably an undervalued approach. And one more example where you have a national challenge, where, if the city steps up, you can really make an impact."