L.A. City Council Committee OKs City ID Card for Illegal Immigrants

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Los Angeles Times reports that City Council member Richard Alarcon and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have thrown their support behind a process that would give illegal immigrants a new form of identification. Other supporters include the labor organizations, banks and librarians.

What do supporters of this new identification card say?

Supporters of this new photo identification card believe that it helps to assimilate L.A.'s population of illegal immigrants. Within Los Angeles, bearers of this identification card would "have the ability to easily open bank accounts and access city services." The ID would also double as an ATM card.

"The federal government has failed on immigration and we have hundreds of thousands of people living in the shadows," Alarcon told the Los Angeles Daily News. Deputy Mayor Larry Frank anticipates that this type of identification would help 200,000 Angelenos who currently cannot use banks and city services because of a lack of identification. Frank refers to this group as "the unbanked."

Does this new form of identification only benefit illegal immigrants?

Proponents of the new ID note that it would also be useful to other individuals who have a difficult time obtaining legal documentation. Examples provided include the city's homeless population, the transgendered, students and the elderly who have surrendered their driver licenses.

What do opponents of ID cards for illegal immigrants say?

Discussing the Matricula Consular card that is currently issued to illegal immigrants from Mexico by the Mexican government, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Mike Antonovich warns, "This card encourages illegal immigration through a de facto amnesty program and provides criminals an open door to commit identify theft and fraud -- and even threaten national security." In spite of his opposition, the board has voted that Los Angeles County would continue accepting this type of ID as a valid form of identification. Critics of the city identification card assert that the card issued by L.A. would pose risks similar those posed by the Matricula Consular card.

Which city council committee voted in favor of the card?

CBS L.A. explains that it was the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee that voted in favor of the city ID card with a 3-0 vote.

What is the status of the city ID?

The Los Angeles city council committee is now working to find vendors who would put the theoretical program into practice. Contracts with these vendors cannot go forward until the entire city council has approved the measure. This vote is expected to take place in November. If approved, the program could be implemented within six months.

Sylvia Cochran offers an insider's perspective of the American immigration system. Having gone through the steps of becoming a citizen -- and currently living in a border state -- she brings hands-on familiarity with hot-button issues to the table.

View Comments