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Oakland Issues ID Cards to Undocumented

Posted: Jan 08, 2013


In Oakland, Calif., city councilors recently gave the go-ahead to the issuance of city identification cards to undocumented residents beginning in 2013.

“For a city that is mostly people of color with a large immigrant population, I think it’s important that the local government respond to the needs of all the population in the city,” said outgoing Councilman Ignacio de la Fuente. “An ID card is one of those needs.”

Expected to benefit thousands of people, Oakland’s new identification document will have the extra function of serving as a debit card that links people living in the shadows to the banking system. Manuel de la Paz of East Bay Sanctuary, one of the groups promoting the ID card, praised the official action while adding it would encourage cooperation with law enforcement and reduce robberies of undocumented residents who are reputed to carry relatively large amounts of cash with them.

Oakland joins other U.S. cities opting to provide a local identification card for otherwise undocumented residents including New Haven, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Similar measures are pending in Los Angeles and Richmond, California.



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