More than 430 Guatemalans gathered at St. Peter Catholic Church Saturday and Sunday to meet with Guatemalan consulate officers and apply for the ID card. Many also applied for a Guatemalan passport, which some of them said they had no need for when they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

Maria Andres Miguel, who was with her 5-year-old son, didn't mind the wait either. After all, the card will allow her to cash checks without having to ask others to endorse them. Miguel, who crossed the border five years ago with her son on her back, also plans to open a bank account.

The card shows a person's name, home address and fingerprint. The document will help open bank accounts, sign leases, buy health insurance and get phones. But it won't grant legal status or help them apply for a driver's license in Florida and other U.S. documents, said Guatemalan vice consul Carla Cruz.

The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office hopes this effort will prevent crime and save lives in Jupiter, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach, homes to the county's largest concentrations of Central-American laborers. Often, the workers carry cash in their pockets or stash it at home. They are easy prey and victims of robberies and home burglaries, said Fernando Alvarez, the Sheriff's Office supervisor of the community relations unit. He is not related to Eddie Alvarez.

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