Applaud Los Angeles for Immigrant ID Program

Target: Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa

Goal: Applaud Los Angeles for new program that gives ID cards to undocumented immigrants

Los Angeles City Council recently approved a new plan that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain ID cards for use at libraries and other city services they would not be able to access otherwise. Card holders will also have the option to use the IDs as debit cards, giving them the opportunity to open bank accounts, a much safer option than carrying cash. A city as large as Los Angeles implementing this type of ID program might encourage other areas in the country to consider acknowledging the undocumented members of their communities as well. Los Angeles should be applauded for giving all residents the opportunity to participate in essential city services and for considering the safety of the undocumented population.

Workers who do not have bank accounts are often forced to use check cashing services that charge fees, taking away a significant percentage of their salaries. Being able to use the ID as a debit card will allow workers to avoid those fees. In addition to the undocumented workers who will benefit from the program, it will also be helpful for the elderly, the poor, and other individuals who do not have government-issued identification. These residents will have the ability to access health services and job training that they were unable to use in the past.

Issuing these IDs will mean a safer city for immigrants, as well as for the city as a whole. With the ability to deposit their income into bank accounts, undocumented workers will no longer be forced to carry cash, lowering the risk of being targeted in robberies. The police department has pointed out that the IDs might even increase the willingness of undocumented immigrants to report crimes without fear of having their immigration statuses revealed, increasing the safety of the city.

Although some opponents worry that this program will end up costing the city money that could be better spent elsewhere, the plan is to have the program paid in its entirety by the small fees required from residents who purchase the IDs. Undocumented immigrants are responsible for some of the most important jobs in American cities, but many citizens and legislators insist that they still do not deserve to be treated as part of the community. Los Angeles should be commended for introducing this program and acknowledging that undocumented residents deserve to live in American communities as equals.


Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

The new program in Los Angeles that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for ID cards will benefit the large portion of the population that is currently unable to obtain identification cards. Being able to use the IDs as debit cards will not only help workers financially, but it will make the city a safer place for them. Those residents who gain the right to purchase IDs will have access to services that maintain their health, broaden their career options, and give them greater access to educational opportunities.

Many cities around the country have been creating legislation that denies rights to immigrants, ignoring their contributions and seeking to push them out of the cities. Undocumented workers are an essential part of Los Angeles and deserve to be treated as part of the community, and this program is a positive step toward that goal. Thank you for making Los Angeles the largest city to introduce this type of program, and for acknowledging the important role undocumented immigrants play in the community.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: paulinaclemente via Flickr.

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