LA: ID Cards for Residents

On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Council members expressed enthusiastic support towards a plan to create city identification cards that could potentially be used by undocumented immigrants. These controversial cards could be used to open bank accounts, borrow library books, make reservations, use city job centers and pay utility bills and they would be available to any resident of the city, regardless of immigration status.

These ID cards would not only be beneficial to undocumented immigrants because other residents would be able to access banking services and become more financially educated. They would have a separate debit card feature so that users could load them with cash. Other cities in California, including Oakland and San Francisco, already have similar ID card programs in place.

Asian Pacific American Legal Center policy director Betty Hung said that these cards will ease hurdles for immigrants. For example, some parents have a difficult time simply picking up their children from school because they do not have identification.

Councilman Richard Alarcon, a chief sponsor of the plan, said that the federal government has failed to address immigration reform, but the city of Los Angeles has the ability to take matters into its own hands. The council voted 12-1 to begin the process of selecting a vendor to establish and administer the identity card program.

On the other hand, the city is currently in an extremely tough financial situation and has no money to take on a new program, says the one “no” voter Republican Councilman Mitch Englander. Undocumented immigration opponents argue that the cards are an accommodation to lawbreakers. They say that Los Angeles is becoming a sanctuary city for illegal immigration.

What do you think?

2 responses to “LA: ID Cards for Residents

  1. Maybe the fiscal impact of this would deter any attempt at creating cards, but I believe it’s very beneficial for illegal immigrants, if it were to be enacted.

  2. When we first talked about this issue in class I was not entirely sure about my position on them because they do seem like something that would encourage undocumented immigrants to stay and remain undocumented. However, after considering it further I think that these are a great idea. There are a lot of reasons that immigrants come into the U.S. undocumented but the fact of the matter is, no one should be refused the basic necessities to live no matter their documentation status. Immigration is a hard process, much harder if the immigrant is illegal, and this will alleviate some of that hardship. While I don’t think that we should encourage illegal immigrants to stay illegal I think that if they are going to be illegal we should still treat them with compassion.

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