LA to weigh ID system for undocumented

Sept. 11, 2012 at 3:42 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles City Council has voted to consider a plan to have library cards double as an ID undocumented immigrants can use for banking and other services.

Holders could use the cards -- which would bear name, address and photograph -- to open bank accounts and access several government services, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Councilman Richard Alarcon, who sponsored the measure, said it would help the estimated 300,000 LA residents who don't have bank accounts or debit cards -- many of whom are routinely exploited by payday lenders or risk robbery because they tend to carry relatively large amounts of cash.

"They can be scammed and taken advantage of," Alarcon said. "This will help end that."

The plan under consideration is not as comprehensive as those currently in place in other California cities -- including San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, the Times reported.

The ID card would be issued through city libraries and Los Angeles would work with a private-sector vendor to help users open bank accounts. Applicants would pay a fee of about $15 or $20 to get a card, and there would be a monthly fee of as much as $2.99, the newspaper said.

"Cities should not be in the business of making it easier for people to violate federal law even if they don't pose a security risk," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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