Municipal IDs get a closer look from city council

FILE - Austin City Hall (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Austin City Hall (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With city council approval, Austin is now looking into creating city identification cards.

Mayor Pro-Tem Sheryl Cole says the exploration of the IDs is a response to needs in the community. She believes the IDs would help people with no basic identification and who face barriers to banking, housing and employment.

Some groups who lack government-issued identification include immigrants, the elderly, at risk youth, transgender or gender variant and the homeless.

“Often times we’ve found [that] members of the immigrant community have been victims of crime, yet they’re afraid to report that crime,” said Austin Police Assistant Chief Raul Munguia.

Still, the Texas Bankers Association has some concerns, and it’s pointing them out in a letter to the mayor and city council.

“We would love to help those people, but our hands really are tied by federal law,” said Eric Sandberg, Jr., president of the Texas Bankers Association.

Sandberg says the law requires specific forms of ID for nonresidents. He says a city ID would not meet current standards.

Austin would follow the lead of cities like San Francisco, Oakland and New York, if it decides to offer the IDs.

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