AUSTIN, Texas -- Some Austin leaders want the city to issue its own identification card. Those pushing for it say the IDs will open doors and give opportunities to people, regardless of immigration status.
Austin has labeled itself an immigrant-friendly city, even announcing an initiative last year as one of 14 cities leading the cause.
"Austin touts itself on being a welcoming city for the immigrant community," said Nora De La Rosa with the Immigration Rights Coalition.
De La Rosa applauds a proposal to issue municipal IDs.
"It affects their livelihood," she said.
When it comes to employment, housing and other basic necessities, she says it's a good thing.
"It's no secret that the undocumented community, some of the undocumented community, the unlucky part of the undocumented community, doesn't have a form of identification, and they need it. But at what cost?" she asked.
She says many in her group have hesitation about providing their information.
"What's going to be done with my data? Is the data going to be protected or is ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) going to be showing up at my door because I'm trying to get ID to make a living?" she said.
"The main purpose of the municipal ID is to give some validity to who you are," explained Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.
Cole is sponsoring the resolution, along with co-sponsors Council Members Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman.
"This would be an important item for the city of Austin because we have so many people that need a form of identification because without it they can't receive health services, they can't bank, they can't see their children in schools," she said.
She says the IDs will also be used for the homeless or anyone in need of identification. Cole also believes it will improve public safety for immigrants.
"There are people that are often times afraid of reporting crimes because they don't have a form of identification. They are concerned about deportation," she explained.
De la Rosa hopes if this plan comes to fruition it's a benefit to her community without hidden consequences.
"We're cautiously optimistic," De La Rosa explained.
Austin City Council will be meeting at the Travis County Commissioners Court Thursday where they will ask the city manager to consider the IDs and council members will look at initiating a stakeholder process.
Cole says the city would model the plan after other cities who have implemented the IDs like San Francisco, Oakland and New York.