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L.A. Now Live: Committee approves ID cards for illegal immigrants

October 17, 2012 |  7:49 am

A plan to provide official photo identification cards for illegal immigrants moved easily through a Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday, as supporters lauded it as a way to help the area's undocumented population easily open bank accounts and access city services.

Times reporter Catherine Saillant will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the committee's vote and the plan.

Ed Reyes, a member of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, said it's "about time" that Los Angeles residents, regardless of immigration status, have the ability to easily open bank accounts and access city services.

Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city with an international economy, Reyes said, and "this card allows people who have been living in the shadows to be out in the light of day."

Opposition to the so-called City Services Card is inevitable because it touches on the hot-button issue of illegal immigration, the councilman said. But in the end "cooler heads will prevail and understand the humanity of the suggestion," he said.

The committee voted unanimously to begin soliciting proposals from potential vendors who would implement the program, backed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Richard Alarcon. That won't happen, however, until a draft proposal is brought before the full council in about three weeks, officials said.

The photo ID would include the user's name, address, date of birth and possibly other identifying information.

It could be used by any resident who lacks acceptable documentation to open a bank account or access city services, such as libraries or work-training programs, officials said.