Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

LA gets closer to having a city ID card available to undocumented immigrants

The New Haven, Conn.
The New Haven, Conn. "ElmCity Resident Card," one of several municipal ID cards around the country
Screen shot from

In case you missed it earlier on KPCC's political blog Represent!, a Los Angeles City Council committee today unanimously approved a proposal from Councilman Richard Alarcon that would have the city create a municipal ID card. It would be available to city residents including undocumented immigrants and give them access to basic banking services. From Alice Walton's report earlier:

The card is intended to help the 200,000 Los Angeles households that do not have access to banking services. Those families are vulnerable to theft and financial emergencies, according to the Mayor’s Office. A financial institution would back the proposed ID card, and the funds would be FDIC insured.

How else would it work? While it can be used for identification, the card would not replace a driver's license, nor could it be used to board an airplane. If the council ultimately approves the ID card program, Los Angeles would join cities like New Haven, Connecticut, San Francisco and Oakland, which is in the process of rolling out an ID card approved three years ago that will have a debit function, as is plan for the Los Angeles card.

Some cities offer a more limited ID card, for example Washington, D.C., which has the DC One Card. That one requires applicants to have identification such as a driver's license, permanent resident card or visa, making these cards more difficult for undocumented immigrants to obtain. In New Haven, meanwhile, applicants may obtain a city ID with a foreign consular identification card, making them more accessible.

The plan must first be approved by the entire City Council. If it is, the city will contract with a private company to administer the cards, which would cost applicants a nominal fee.

More details here and here.