Bloomberg: "New York to Issue ID Cards for Undocumented Immigrants"

by Joseph McKeown

We discussed earlier this year New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign promise of issuing city identity cards to undocumented immigrants, and today the New York City Council approved the measure. With similar programs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Haven, Connecticut, these cards will allow the approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants as well as homeless (and others) in New York City to open bank accounts, obtain leases, and use medical clinics.

Applications for the card can be made with a US or foreign passport, a domestic or foreign driver’s license, birth certificate, or proof of foreign military service, along with proof of city residence. Transgender applicants can identify themselves as they wish, regardless of the listed gender on their other identification.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said before the vote: "'It sends a simple and clear message that we are a city that believes in including everyone...We don’t accept that some people can be left out because of their immigration status, how they identify their gender or whether they may be homeless.'"

And The New York Observer interviews Juan Carlos, an immigrant, who says: “'I understand what it is not to have an ID...This ID would allow me to come out of the shadows more, to lose my fear in front of and dealing with the police, and to really be able to feel like a citizen and a resident of New York.'”