MAY 27, 2009
A second northern California city plans to offer illegal immigrants official identification cards and police officials support the idea, claiming it will make their job easier.
The Oakland City Council is considering a proposal to give municipal identification cards to illegal immigrants, underage runaways and transgender individuals. Making the cards available would encourage more residents to cooperate with police, according to the lawmakers who proposed the measure. The city’s deputy police chief actually claims “it will make our jobs easier.”
A few miles across the bay, San Francisco, which for years has protected even the most violent of felons from deportation, began offering illegal immigrants official government ID cards this year. Thousands of so-called municipal ID cards have been issued so far and officials say the city is booked solid for months with residents who have made appointments to obtain the coveted cards.
Following the lead of its sister city will encourage more undocumented immigrants to report crimes or give witness statements, according to Oakland officials. The cards will also help transgender people who may not look like the gender they identify with and don’t want to be labeled male or female on an ID card, they said.
New Haven Connecticut became the first U.S. city to offer illegal immigrants ID cards a few years ago so that they could enjoy public services and integrate into the community. San Francisco remains the only major U.S. city to offer the perk and Oakland, with a population of about 400,000, may soon become the second.
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