Undocumented immigrants who have built homes, families and lives in Richmond won't have to rely on the state or federal government for proof of identification.
The East Bay city will begin issuing its own ID cards this summer, after a plan to provide residents with "community identification" was approved by the Richmond City Council, the Contra Costa Times reported.
This is the fifth instance of a city attempting to aid its residents in obtaining bank accounts, loans and other services such as library access, the newspaper reported. As to not appear to single out undocumented immigrants, the ID cards will provide all residents of Richmond -- some of whom may have access to passports and drivers licenses -- access to city services such as pools, libraries and public transportation, the newspaper reported.
Richmond police have signed off on the plan, as it is presumed the ID cards will encourage undocumented immigrants and other at-risk populations -- such as transgendered people and runaway youth -- to participate with police in investigating and reporting crimes.
Nearly 40 percent of Richmond residents are Latino, and about 1/3 of the city's people are immigrants of all backgrounds, according to the newspaper.
Both San Francisco and Oakland approved similar plans. Legal challenges tied up San Francisco's ID card program, but Oakland's passed with little fanfare, according to the newspaper.
Supporters say the cards show the Bay Area is serious about including its many undocumented immigrants into the fabric of the community. Critics, a few of whom spoke out against the City Council's plan, say the cards encourage illegal immigration.
Either way, more people will now be able to prove who they are.