The Los Angeles Council gave the go ahead for a new program that would provide city-issued identification cards to any resident, regardless of immigration status. The ID will also act as a pre-paid debit card to those who wish it.

The plan, which was sponsored by Richard Alarcon and Mayor Villaraigosa, sparked some controversy, as opponents said that giving identification to law breakers was tantamount to condoning breaking the law. But the city ID cards are limited in scope, and won’t serve as drivers licenses and won’t enable bearers to board airplanes.

Instead, the cards will allow residents to access an array of city services, including access to job centers and library services. The card can also be used to open a bank account or pay utility bills. Currently, much of the economy in the 400,000 person undocumented community is cash.

In certain situations, the lack of an ID can make it difficult for a parent or caregiver to pick up a child from school. Some schools require ID before collecting a child.

The program is expected to be self-sufficient, with funding drawing from fees associated with getting the card.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.