Illegal immigrants may be able to use library cards as legal IDs in Los Angeles

confidence, comely./Flickr/Creative Commons

ATM in a souvenir shop on Olvera Street, Los Angeles. If the proposal passes, illegal immigrants can use library cards to open bank accounts.

Library cards may soon be used by Los Angeles illegal immigrants without driver's licenses so they can open bank accounts and access city services.

The City Council unanimously voted to consider the proposal, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The idea is to give a form of identification — library cards — to those who cannot get driver's licenses because of their immigration status. Anyone with proof of residency is eligible for one.

An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants in L.A. don't have bank accounts because banks generally require official identification to open an account. Councilman Richard Alarcon told the L.A. Times that immigrants in his Northeast Valley district are robbed of large sums of money or extorted by payday lenders because of this.

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

The library card would include name, address and photograph. It would be issued through the city's libraries and it would cost applicants $15 to $20. It could not be used to operate a vehicle and would not protect users from federal deportation, the Times reported.

L.A. follows behind cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, who have already instated similar plans.

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