Similar to what San Francisco offers, Oakland will offer the ID card to its residents who are homeless people, immigrants and others who might have trouble obtaining a state identification card.
Oakland’s card is unique in it will double as an ATM debit card. This is an advantage to those without bank accounts who are often forced to pay high check cashing fees or carry around large amounts of cash.
Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente has been trying to get an ID card system for Oakland residents since the state rejected efforts to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants in 2004 and the City Council voted in June 2009 to issue municipal identification cards.
“I think we have a responsibility to provide local access and represent everyone,” said De La Fuente, who along with Mayor-elect Jean Quan co-authored the ordinance last year. “We have to provide some way for people to identify themselves so that people don’t get arrested. “... We have to move forward with the card and not delay further.”
To obtain a city ID card, applicants must provide one picture identification such as a driver’s license, passport, green card or consular card. Applicants who don’t have a driver’s license need two pieces of identification such as a foreign driver’s license, a Social Security card, a U.S. or foreign birth certificate, a military identification card or school identification. Minors don’t need photo ID, but they must have some sort of documentation either from a school or shelter.
Applicants must also prove residency by providing recent utility bills, tax bills, pay stub, jury summons or tax refund statement, among other items.
The municipal identification cards will supply the same type of information contained on a driver’s license or state identification card, including name, address, date of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color and photograph. The card must be accepted as a valid form of identification at all city departments, including the police department.
Miguel Robles, founder of the Latino American Alliance for Immigration Rights, was behind the push to get San Francisco to launch a municipal ID card program in response to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in 2007.
“You can get one if you are here illegally, if you are a resident of the city and are paying taxes and living here and spending money here,” Robles said, describing the San Francisco program. “I’m very excited to have the program now in Oakland, too.”