Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has gotten behind a plan proposed by Councilman Richard Alacrón that would provide versatile identification cards to undocumented residents in Los Angeles. The cards would serve not only as rudimentary ID cards, but also as pre-paid debit cards.

In order to qualify for the city ID, residents would need to simply provide proof of residency and identity to receive the card. Although it would afford undocumented residents greater access to services, it does not afford them carte blanche access to everything. The ID could not be used as a form of identification for boarding airplanes, nor would it be a driver’s license.

It is unclear if the LAPD would accept the card, or how they would treat it. That policy would depend upon what security measures are included on the card and in the requirements to obtain one. The department has already said they would no longer forward immigrants to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency for arrests arising from minor infractions.

It is hoped that those policies and access to identification will encourage people to report crimes, which are traditionally underreported for fear of police action.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Daily News.