National briefs (Jan. 17, 2013)
Oakland creates ID cards for undocumented
Oakland is the latest U.S. city to issue municipal identification cards to undocumented immigrants seeking daily services and protection.
Other cities like San Francisco, Washington, D.C. Los Angeles and Richmond are reportedly working on creating municipal cards as well.
Oakland’s municipal I.D. also doubles as a debit card, a feature that’s the first of its kind. The card does not require individuals to be identified by gender.
Oakland expects to issue 6,000 cards within a year, which will be available to residents at a cost of $15, Deputy City Administrator Arturo Sanchez, who oversees the program, told the San Francisco Chronicle. It will be $10 for seniors and minors. The debit function is optional, and the cards must be renewed every two years.
White House moves quickly to curb gun violence
Efforts to curb U.S. gun violence are heating up, the Washington Post reported recently:
“A working group led by Vice President Joseph Biden is seriously considering measures that would require universal background checks for gun buyers and track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database”
The measures would also strengthen mental health checks and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors.
New Homeland Security rule to help undocumented
Undocumented immigrants who can prove that separation from their U.S.-based family would cause “extreme hardship” may soon be able to apply for a waiver to the re-entry ban, so that they could start their visa application process without leaving the country.
The new Homeland Security rule goes into effect March 4 and applies to the spouses or parents of U.S. citizens, or minor children, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Applicants returning to their home countries to finish their visa application process will be able to leave the U.S. without risking long-term separation from their U.S.-based family.
The move, praised by immigrant communities and those who advocate for immigrant rights, could affect some 1 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported.