San Francisco may offer IDs to all residents

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to a policy which would grant ID cards to any resident of the city, regardless of legal status. If passed, San Francisco would be the largest city in the United States to provide such ID cards. Last year, New Haven, Connecticut began offering similar ID cards. The ID cards will be particularly valuable because they may provide residents of the city with a way to gain access to banking services. Lack of access to services such as bank accounts leaves undocumented immigrants vulnerable to theft which they are then often reluctant to report. In other immigration-related news, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer withdrew his proposal to grant driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status, after facing a storm of controversy over the plan. Providing driver’s licenses to immigrants protects public safety by providing the government with accurate identification information for more people. It also protects all drivers by reducing the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the road. Eight states currently allow any residents to apply for licenses. For more information on the subject, see CPA’s policy brief and model legislation on driver’s licenses for immigrants and Gov. Spitzer’s press release. [NY Times]