Valley Interfaith clarifies local parish ID strategy

PHARR — Following a meeting at the Pharr Development and Research Center on Tuesday evening, Jose Hinojosa of Valley Interfaith responded to some questions regarding the new parish identification cards.

“ID cards can only be used for identification purposes, it is not a government issued card and cannot be used to vote, does not take place of drivers licence,” explained Hinojosa in an email on Wednesday morning. “Right now leaders have negotiated with McAllen, Pharr, Edinburg and Brownsville. We want all cities in the valley to recognize it and leaders will start working with individual cities.”

As previously reported, the parish identification strategy is intended to provide all members of participating parishes with a way to identify themselves to local law enforcement, particularly those individuals who have immigrated to the United States and do not have a state-issued ID.

“Police Chief (Cesar) Torres from Edinburg, Chief (Jose A.) Luengo from Pharr, and Captain (Irene) Luna representing Chief (Victor) Rodriguez of McAllen all agreed to accept parish ID as a form of identification,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa also explained the ID cards are not exclusive to local Catholic churches.

“Fr. Kevin Collins emphasized that parish ID’s are not strictly for Catholic churches, any church that is interested in joining the effort is welcome,” Hinojosa said. “The effects of SB4 is not limited to Catholics.”

SB4 is the Texas law in which local governments and law enforcement agencies assist federal immigration officers.

“(The) person applying for ID will have to be an active registered member of parish or church for at least 3 months, complete the application form, provide two other forms of identification according to list on application form, or have another person who knows applicant fill out notarized affidavit staying such,” explained Hinojosa.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, presented Bishop Daniel Flores from the Brownsville Diocese with a $10,000 check to buy printers for the ID cards.

Valley Interfaith leaders also agreed to meet in October to begin their “Get Out The Vote” campaign to ensure propositions 2 and 8 pass “so that more money for needed infrastructure for the valley will be available” said Hinojosa. describes the two propositions as follows:

Proposition 2 would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue general obligation bonds on a continuing basis as long as the outstanding principal does not exceed $200 million for the state’s Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP). The ballot measure would require the bonds to be used for developing the water supply and sewer service in areas defined as economically distressed.

Proposition 8 would create the Flood Infrastructure Fund. The Texas Water Development Board would be authorized to use the fund for projects related to flood drainage, mitigation, and control.

Both propositions will be on the ballot for the Nov. 5th elections.