Michigan state officials clarified in a press release late Friday that Flint residents are not, in fact, required to show identification in order to receive free water sources being distributed by the National Guard, the Red Cross, and other volunteers in response to the city’s water contamination crisis.
Identification “is not required, it's just requested,” Lt. David Kaiser, a spokesperson for the Michigan State Police’s field services bureau, told Yahoo News.
Kaiser said addresses were being used as part of the “long-term recovery effort” to track exactly where the water filters and other supplies are going.
This was apparently not made clear to the many people who have been asked for identification while picking up free water bottles, filters, replacement cartridges, and testing kits at some of the five resource stations that have been set up across the city in recent days.
Undocumented folks are reporting that they are being asked for a government issued ID in order to get water at distribution centers.
— Tina Vasquez (@TheTinaVasquez) January 22, 2016
On Friday afternoon, Flint residents lined up in the cars outside Fire Station No. 1, where they were each asked by a National Guardsman to show their ID before receiving a case of bottled water. Kaiser told Yahoo News Saturday that the addresses were meant to be logged into an iPad right away and sent straight to a database, but in the case of the 10 or so cars that I observed rolling through Fire Station 1 the day before, IDs were simply checked quickly to confirm, as one national guardsmen told me, that those receiving water have a Flint address.
Kaiser said the press release was written in response to residents’ concerns that they won't be able to get supplies without an ID.