Mayor proposes library cards for city ID, debit services


The plan would make a city of Los Angeles library card good for more than checking out books: It could be used as a form of identification for illegal immigrants. It could be used to obtain city services. Some say it will make life easier for people who don't have documents. Others say that's a bad idea.

The proposed new library cards would include a user's name, address and a photograph.

"It also will function as an ID, not a replacement for a California driver's license or a California ID," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The idea, proposed by Villaraigosa, would create an official city of Los Angeles identification card. It is aimed primarily at illegal immigrants who cannot obtain banking services without an ID. The new card could be used as a debit card.

"To be able to access a bank account, to become part of the banked community, if you will," said Villaraigosa.

San Francisco uses a similar system. It's accepted by banks and many businesses. In Los Angeles, officials say, the card could be used to access city services.

Stephen Kruiser is a conservative activist with He thinks this sets a bad precedent.

"You can say 'undocumented' all the time, but they're here illegally, and so we're rewarding people for violating the law," said Kruiser. "That is the central issue to me on this right now, which I think is wrong."

"Let them go to the DMV. I mean, the libraries are already overcrowded with work that they've got to do daily," said North Hollywood resident Roy Farmer.

"I think that's a great idea," said North Hollywood resident Redford G. Westwood. "That way if a law officer should get involved in a certain situation and everyone's willing to show an ID, I can see no problem with it."

This is just a proposal for now. A city council committee is scheduled to discuss the issue Tuesday and could decide if the plan moves forward.

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