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Immigration identification card could protect rights

Though this story doesn't come from Pennsylvania, a proposed city ordinance could provide an interesting approach to immigration in Lancaster County. The mayor of Los Angeles has announced that he would like to implement a city-wide identification card program that would give immigrants an official ID and, could give them access to a private bank account. If the city passes the ordinance, it would follow in the footsteps of several other cities that have already implemented similar programs.

The mayor said the cards would give anyone who could prove residency in the city, regardless of immigration status, a city-issued ID. The cards could make it much easier for immigrants to access services in the city or prove their identity, should they be so required.

If similar legislation was passed in Lancaster or throughout Pennsylvania, it could provide immigrants considerably more freedoms than they might currently have. It may be difficult for an immigrant, regardless of his or her legal status, to obtain a driver's license or other federal- or state-issued ID, but a simpler ID that is designed specifically for immigrants may make it much easier. With our reliance on photo identifications for nearly everything, it may mean the difference between being free and being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It is still unclear if this ordinance will be passed or if something similar will ever make its way to Pennsylvania. There is some opposition, mainly from individuals who believe these cards are ways to legitimize those who are not here with legal permission to remain in the country. There does not appear to be any proof, however, that a simple ID will prevent the deportation of someone who could otherwise be removed from the country.

Source: ABC 6, "Los Angeles mayor wants ID card for immigrants," Oct. 13, 2012

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