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Undocumented Immigrants

Approved by a City Council Committee to Face Full Council SoonWhen it comes to dealing with undocumented immigrants in our country, it has been obvious that certain states take initiative in acting in a fair and just way while others do not. California has the largest population in the country and twenty-seven percent of the population is accounted for by immigrants. This statistic is discounting the number of undocumented individuals. Being such a hub for immigrants, it only makes sense then, that the most populated Californian city would work towards giving immigrants, documented or not, opportunities that are just.Proposal to Issue IDs to Undocumented Immigrants in Los AngelesEarlier this year, Los Angeles stopped seizing the cars of those who were driving without a license. Months later, the police department announced that it would no longer report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities for low-level offenses, an act that previously resulted in the eventual deportation of these individuals.Proposal to Issue IDs to Undocumented Immigrants in Los AngelesLast week, a City Council committee unanimously approved a proposal to develop a city-wide identification card system. This proposal, if approved now by the full Council, would allow undocumented individuals to receive ID cards which would be more than beneficial in a number of ways.

Undocumented Immigrants Issues

The ID cards would, in addition to serving the obvious purpose of identification, would double as prepaid debit cards. Currently, as undocumented immigrants are unable to open bank accounts, they are forced into carrying large sums of money on their person. Many immigrants and immigrant rights advocates have spoken out that this places them in unnecessarily dangerous situations, making undocumented immigrants susceptible to robberies, which are, at times, quite violent.This proposal, like all other efforts to increase immigrant rights, is faced with heavy opposition from conservatives. In this case, Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform – a group that is a proponent of stricter immigration laws – has openly opposed this proposal for city IDs for undocumented immigrants claiming, "this city has bent over backwards to accommodate people who are in this country illegally… if Los Angeles is going to be issuing government IDs, how do they know these people’s true identities"?They could be helping people establish a false identity. In tow with this opposition, others have argued that issuing IDs is a matter that must be resolved by the federal government. However, most proponents disagree with both arguments and are still propone issuing IDs to undocumented individuals. Los Angeles is not the first city to offer such a proposal. In 2007, New Haven became the first city to do so. Thereafter, many cities, including Oakland and San Francisco followed in New Havens’ footsteps. These cities have not experienced any of the negative effects as predicted by the opposition.Will Los Angeles be able to achieve a position on the list of immigrant-friendly cities by allowing undocumented immigrants to hold IDs? Only the votes can tell.
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