LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the city is looking into the possibility of issuing a photo ID card that would also serve as an ATM card.
Villaraigosa said the card would serve as an official identification for many of the 4.3 million immigrants living in LA, mirroring similar programs in place in San Francisco, Oakland and a few other California cities.
"It will be an official ID," Villaraigosa told the Los Angeles Times. "It will be as strong an effort as San Francisco's."
The ATM component of the proposed card would make it easier for immigrants to open bank accounts rather than carrying their cash around, making them less-tempting targets for muggers, proponents of the plan said.
Immigrant advocates said the ID card would help immigrants get access to schools and city services as well as the banking sector regardless of their immigration status. It would also make immigrants less reluctant to report criminal activity to the police, they contended.
Critics of the plan call it an accommodation of undocumented immigrants who are breaking the law.
"The feeling was there are other ways for people who don't have documents to open bank accounts, and this is really a federal policy, not a city policy," said Dr. Sid Gold, a member of a neighborhood council that voted to oppose the plan.
The City Council will discuss the plan at its Tuesday meeting, the Times said.