A City Council committee voted unanimously to recommend the full council approve a request to solicit bids from vendors, to implement a photo ID program that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said would serve as an official identification for many of the 4.3 million immigrants living in LA, regardless of their immigration status.
San Francisco, Oakland and a few other California cities already offer similar ID cards.
Councilman Ed Reyes said issuing such cards would allow immigrants to open bank accounts and gain access to municipal services, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This card allows people who have been living in the shadows to be out in the light of day," he said, while noting he anticipates there will be opposition to the so-called City Services Card because of the controversial nature of immigration.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told the newspaper issuing the cards would make it "easier for people who have violated federal immigration laws to live in the city."
Supporters of the cards say its ATM aspect, by making it easier for immigrants to open bank accounts, would alleviate the need to carry cash and make them less-tempting targets for muggers, and would make immigrants less reluctant to report criminal activity to the police.