Oakland (like the rest of California) is running against the rising tide of citizen demands for enforcement of borders and immigration laws. Arizona has been focus of crackdown, with a series of laws that helped local police do their jobs and encouraged local aliens to leave on their own accord.
Oakland immigrant ID cards to work as debit cards, San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2010
Oakland is poised to join a handful of cities in creating a municipal identification card that is touted primarily as a way for illegal immigrants to prove their identity.
But unlike programs in other locales, Oaklandâ€™s plan will be the first in the nation to create an alternative banking system for the poor, with the ID doubling as a full-service debit card.
Card holders will be able to load money onto their cards, freeing them from the vulnerability of walking around with cash or relying on costly check-cashing outlets.
â€?This will probably be the most advanced municipal ID in the country,â€? said Councilwoman and Mayor-elect Jean Quan, who has driven the effort alongside Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
While the debit card function is intended to help illegal immigrants, others see the cardâ€™s varied uses as a way to broaden interest. That, they say, will prevent a municipal ID card from being a scarlet letter.
â€?We want to make sure that itâ€™s not just another way of identifying people who donâ€™t have documentation,â€? said Councilwoman Nancy Nadel.
Oakland is not the first city to try to make municipal ID cards part of the fabric of nonimmigrantsâ€™ lives.
An ID offered by San Francisco doubles as a library card and provides discounts at certain businesses. The Washington, D.C., card has a slew of functions and can be used to pay for public transit. New Haven, Conn., which implemented the first municipal ID in 2007, allows residents to use the card at parking meters.
Claudia Burgos, an aide to De La Fuente, said Oakland hopes to start issuing cards by March, after the council earlier this month awarded a contract to SF Global Group, a Los Angeles company that operates prepaid banking systems. The card would cost $15, or $10 for seniors and students.
Unlike a typical debit card, the Oakland ID can be loaded with up to $1,000 at a time at participating stores. Unlimited amounts can be added via payroll direct deposit.
In addition, SF Global Group and the council hope to expand the cardâ€™s uses to include city libraries, Childrenâ€™s Fairyland and the Oakland Museum of California, and may offer them to schoolchildren. In Washington, D.C., every public school student has one, said Elias Enciso, director of business development for SF Global Group.