The city of Oakland is taking a major step toward helping bring many of its residents, especially illegal immigrants, out of the shadows.
It will issue a municipal identification card to anyone who can prove they are a resident.
Oakland isn't the only city to issue such ID cards to illegal immigrants. New Haven, Conn., and San Francisco already do that.
The Oakland card, however, has a unique feature — it doubles as a debit card. ...NPR
What this does is provide immigrant workers with some security. Having no bank accounts, they are forced to carry cash and, for that reason, have tended to be victims of street crime. The card gives them not only an ID but greater safety.
The right sees this as the thin edge of the wedge, a kind of prelim to legalization.
"It's one more way of having a de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants," Mark Krikorian said, who directs the Washngton-based Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank favoring strict immigration controls.
"This kind of measure, along with say, giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants helps integrate illegal immigrants into our institutions in a way that is simply inappropriate," Krikorian said.
But Mayor Quan says the card isn't just for the undocumented. She sees it as a way to bring banking services to citizens and legal residents who are poor and unbanked. ...NPR