LA City Council is considering turning library cards into a form of official identification for undocumented immigrants. The library ID card would work as a debit card, allowing undocumented immigrants to open bank accounts and access other city services. Lolita Lopez reports from Van Nuys for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.
Library cards may soon be used by Los Angeles undocumented immigrants without driver licenses so they can open bank accounts and access city services.
Anyone with proof of residency would be able to get a library card, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The City Council voted recently to consider the proposal.
The idea is to give undocumented immigrants a form of identification -- the library cards -- to those who cannot get driver's licenses because of their immigration status.
An estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles don't have bank accounts because banks generally require official identification to open an account.
"It also makes them victims of abuse. For example, pay day lenders are constantly abusing these kinds of people," says Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon.
The library card would include a user's name, address and a photograph. It would be issued through the city's libraries and it would cost applicants $15 to $20.
San Francisco and Oakland have already implemented the program, which has drawn some criticism from groups like the Federation for American Immigrant Reform which tells NBC4 the program may enable undocumented immigrants to violate the law since they are not in the country legally.
The city's Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee is reviewing the motion.