Los Angeles News
Library Cards Used As ID For Illegal Aliens
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:36:54 PM

LOS ANGELESLos Angeles officials are contemplating using library cards as a means of identification for the city's large illegal immigrant population. This would allow illegal immigrants the opportunity to open back accounts and access a variety of city services they are incapable of using otherwise.
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Photo ID used in San Francisco. Courtesy of sfgov.org


The City Council made a unanimous vote in order to consider putting the proposal into effect. Many cities across the country have used various forms of documentation for those who are working in this country illegally as well as for those who can not get a driver's license due to their immigration status.


“City Services Cards will help embrace the technology of the 21st century to promote not just literacy at our libraries, but financial literacy,” said Councilmember Alarcón who introduced the proposal. “Even better ”“ these cards will offer the simple banking services that will help people who don’t have bank accounts to become more financially secure.”


There is an estimated 350,000 undocumented workers residing in Los Angeles who could be affected if this proposal is passed. The ID card would be available in the city's libraries and would include a user's name, address and photograph.


The city would also have to partner with a private vendor in order to have bank accounts created for those who will use the library card as a debit card as banks require valid identification to do so. Besides opening an account, illegal immigrants would also be able to use direct deposits, international and domestic money transfers and debiting.


“When people don’t have access to banking services, they become targets for the payday lenders and check cashing storefronts that charge exorbitant fees for simple banking services,” said Alarcón. “City Services Cards will protect families from predatory lenders by helping make sure that every family in Los Angeles has access to basic banking services.”


Many have spoken against Alarcon's proposal and believe that the city has no right to meddle in matters that pertain to the state and federal government. It is also believed by some that it is unjust to make the lives easier of those who have not gone through the process of entering this country legally.


San Francisco adopted a similar principle as City ID cards are accepted as adequate identification by most banks, airlines and local businesses. San Francisco ID holders can also list a user's medical condition and an emergency contact. The plan for Los Angeles' ID cards will not include as many benefits to illegal aliens as compared to other cities who have adopted a similar proposal.


In a report in 2010 made by the Pew Health Group, it was estimated that 300,000 people in Los Angeles do not have a bank account, and of that number, approximately 70% are foreign born, earn a maximum of $15,000 a year and have lived in the United States for about 14 years.


The cards are reported to cost $20 to $50 along with a monthly fee of up to $3 and those who wish to obtain it must show proof of their residency in Los Angeles.



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