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North Little Rock issuing IDs to reach out to Hispanic, underserved communities

Municipal ID Card - sample.jpg
City of North Little Rock website
Seis Puentes Executive Director Raúl Fernández says the city ID program will help residents open bank accounts. Centennial Bank, First Community Bank and First Security are among those accepting the ID to open an account.

The City of North Little Rock is partnering with a local nonprofit to improve relations with the Hispanic community.

The group Seis Puentes and the city are hosting an Open House for the Municipal Identification Program on Tuesday night. It will allow residents to obtain a city ID after presenting a driver’s license, U.S Visa, resident card or travel documents.

“Our City has placed their belief and support in Seis Puentes to partner on this much needed service,” North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick said in a press release.

According to Seis Puenetes’ website, by obtaining a valid photo ID, residents will be able to open bank accounts, enter their child’s public school building and establish identity when interacting with law enforcement.

Centennial Bank, First Community Bank, First Security and Hope Credit Union are among the financial institutions that allow city IDs to be used as a secondary documentation to open bank accounts.

Seis Puentes Executive Director Raúl Fernández says another reason for issuing the city IDs is to unify the community.

“This program is an opportunity to really be a part of our community in North Little Rock. What we want everyone to know is that everyone counts in North Little Rock,” Fernández said in an interview. “We want everyone to be a part of our North Little Rock community and I believe that this ID is a small step in that direction.”

The ID will open up opportunities for individuals that will benefit them as well as the city, Fernández explained.

“Community resources and services will be made readily accessible to Hispanic and underserved communities,” Fernández said. “Recipients of this program will benefit from knowing that they belong to a city that champions diversity, equity and inclusion. It’ll allow the Hispanic and underserved residents to enroll kids in North Little Rock schools, open up businesses and apply not only for city jobs but private jobs as well.”

Fernández added that the cards will also help create a direct line of communication between the city and the Hispanic community which will help better residents.

Fernández says issuing the city ID cards will also help North Little Rock city officials have a better estimate on the number of Hispanic residents in the city.

According to Census data, 6.2% Hispanic residents make up the population of North Little Rock. Last month, the Census Bureau reported, Arkansas was among the highest states in the amount of residents undercounted and Hispanic communities are among the demographic groups that tend to have a higher undercount rate.

John Wilkerson, general counsel for the Arkansas Municipal League, said the organization is not sure how many cities in the state issue city IDs; he said that Little Rock is the only city that comes to mind.

Ronak Patel is a reporter for KUAR News focusing on state and local government.