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South Bend ID Program continues, despite lawsuit

NOW: South Bend ID Program continues, despite lawsuit

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An impromptu drive in downtown South Bend Saturday is sending a message about a city program.

The South Bend ID program, headed up by La Casa de Amistad, has recently been under fire after a lawsuit was filed against the city this week by a conservative Washington-based group.

The lawsuit says the city broke public record laws and La Casa is mentioned in the lawsuit.

Sam Centellas, the Executive director at La Casa said me the lawsuit will not affect the ID program and that it’s this confusion that they were trying to avoid.

That’s why the group held an ID drive today, to show people that the program is still running and prove their information is safe.

“We are specifically doing our drive today to let people know that that’s not impacting our program and that we are going to continue it the way we’ve done it,” Centellas said.

He said the South Bend ID program has been successful in the last three years since it started.

Earlier this week, Judicial Watch, a conservative Washington-based group, filed a lawsuit against the city, sparking questions in the community about the ID program and their information's safety.

“We had people call right away, like ‘what does this lawsuit mean? Is the program going to get shut down? Is my information out there?” Centellas said.

Now he wants to set the record straight.

“Originally the city was going to do an identification program and had actually created budget money to do that and ended up deciding not to,” he said. “Over fear of that something like this might happen where people would want to try to demand names, addresses of people who’ve taken out the card and putting people potentially at risk.”

The impromptu drive sold more than a dozen ID’s.

Some, like Marisel Moreno, were making the purchase just to support the program and show unity.

“I am here today as a result of the lawsuit. It’s a way to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized by the government but are still key members of our community,” Moreno said.

Although she said she’s not nervous about leaked information

“Unfortunately, that is not the case for most of the people who are a part of the program,” Moreno said.

But this is why La Casa stepped up to run the program since they are a private organization, the data is safe and secure.

“Your data has not been compromised. It’s not being shared. Their data is not even part of this lawsuit. The lawsuit is really with the city, not with La Casa,” Centellas said. “The city’s never had that information.”

“La Casa has their back. The city, Mayor Pete, has their back. Everything is going to be okay. The program will continue,” Moreno said.

Despite the lawsuit, Centellas said more than a dozen people showed at the drive today and in just over 3 years, they’ve done over 2,000 identification cards for community members.

For more information about the ID program, click here.

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