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Radio Station Stirs Ire With Immigrant ID Spots

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The radio spots had depicted the cards as legitimate documents for personal verification, says Zohab, who obtained a card. He describes it as laminated, with images of an official-looking Capitol seal and the U.S. flag. Zohab says he reported the matter to the U.S. Department of State.

He adds that promoting the IDs isn't technically illegal because the cards are not intended to replicate state-issued IDs. Zohab considers the practice "exploitive."

Selecta radio's Shalin Midence, a disc jockey and spokeswoman for the station, did not return several calls from Style seeking comment by press time.

The ID card promotion comes amid "hysteria" of undocumented workers who fear that they may be detained or deported, Zohab says. "I have been on the phone day and night with my contacts in the community," he says.

He says Selecta's decision to run the ads for the IDs is unconscionable. "They were promoting it, and the IDs are worthless," Zohab says. "It's like a check-cashing place issuing driver's licenses," he says. "They're just exploiting people."

Zohab says he learned of the ads when Tanya Gonzalez, director of the Richmond Hispanic Liaison Office, called him about it.

Gonzalez says Nu Media International possessed the proper permits to issue the cards that were printed in English and, upon close inspection, read "membership card," she says. What's more, the company had advertised that it could provide "individual tax-identification numbers" issued by the IRS to immigrants. A representative of the state's division of motor vehicles went on- air on Selecta prior to the scam to warn individuals, Gonzalez says.

The day before the ID operation took place, Zohab says, Alberto Ojeda, president of the business association Latinos Unidos, "mobilized his group within two hours" and blanketed the Hispanic community with 1,500 flyers warning residents of the scheme.

Zohab says he and Ojeda's business group, along with Hispanic merchants, have asked to meet with Selecta to discuss its position and prevent future ID promotions. "It's not so much a meeting," Zohab says, "but a show of force." S

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