Los Angeles city official are considering a new proposal that would allow illegal immigrants
to access city services, including opening bank accounts by using their credit cards. The Los Angeles city council voted to consider the proposal amidst similar laws taking effect throughout the country. Currently, illegal immigrants are unable to access these services as they are unable to obtain a driver’s license. If passed, the new law would grant any individual a library card with proof of residency. That library card in turn can be used to open bank accounts and other services.
Los Angeles is home to an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants, and the proposed plan has garnered its share of both praise and criticism. Advocates of the proposed plan say that these individuals are currently being charged exorbitant fees by payday lenders, and often times have thier monies stolen from them point blank. Furthermore, the plan would help push more funds into our banking system, and outside of institutions that may exploit illegal immigrants. L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon also pointed out that the proposed law would help create “financial literacy” for immigrants.
Advocates of the plan suggest that the new law would only serve to promote continued illegal immigration in Los Angeles. They also fear the new card can be abused by illegal immigrants.
Still, it is unclear whether immigrants would ever even choose to take advantage of the law. Illegal immigrants are constantly under fear of deportation, and the card cannot be used as a replacement for a driver’s license. It would not create a shield from deportation by immigration officials, and would require immigrants to include their name, address and photograph.