Los Angeles Officials Consider Using Library Cards as Identification for Illegal Immigrants

Los Angeles officials are considering a proposal that would allow illegal immigrants to use library cards as an acceptable form of identification to open bank accounts and access a number of other city services.

At a recent City Council meeting, officials voted to consider the proposal which was proposed by Councilman Richard Alarcon to help the individuals in his Northeast Valley district gain access to the banking system. Alarcon also believes that linking the identification cards to the Los Angeles library system can help promote “financial literacy” in the community, according to a  recent Los Angeles Times article by journalist Catherine Saillant.

There are more than 300,000 illegal immigrants in Los Angeles who are unable to obtain legal identification like a U.S. passport or driver’s license. If the motion is approved, Los Angeles will join a growing list of United States cities offering identification to individuals of varying immigration statuses.

“The cards would not be a substitute for driver’s licenses and would not provide protection from deportation by federal immigration authorities,”  Saillant wrote. “The cards would include a user’s name, address and photograph, and would be issued through the city’s libraries.”

While some experts believe the I.D. cards will help end scams against immigrants, others have publicly opposed similar plans in different cities. Ira Mehlman, communications director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, believes that terrorists and criminals could easily exploit the ID cards, and that the program can potentially encourage higher numbers of illegal immigrants to enter the United States.

“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,” Mehlman told the source.

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