NYC to roll out municipal ID

NYC to roll out municipal ID

In January, New York City will launch a new municipal identity card program targeted to those who do not have a driver’s license or other official identification.

The program would allow New Yorkers, regardless of their citizenship status, to access basic city services, open bank accounts and lease apartments. “For so many New Yorkers, a proper ID is not in their wallet. And that means a lot for their day-to-day lives. It creates a lot of problems and challenges for people,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a recent speech.

Those who particularly will benefit from the card include members of the transgender community – who will be able to choose their gender on the card, homeless individuals, adults re-entering society after incarceration and young people in foster care.

“I want to emphasize this card is important for all New Yorkers,” De Blasio added. “It is important for all of us to have a better city. Even for those who already have ID, we’re going to make sure that this card brings a lot to the equation, a lot of benefits that will go with it.”

To broaden its appeal, the city administration is working with cultural institutions to offer perks such as memberships or discounted tickets to cardholders. The card will be free the first year, and there will be walk-in enrollment centers – along with online applications – to apply for the card.

In April the mayor issued a solicitation for project management and quality assurance services systems; integration services; and card printing services for the ID card. In late July the city started looking for a deputy director for the project.

So far, the city has not yet decided on specific information to be needed for the card nor its security features. Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, in the Office of Immigrant Affairs, said the city is, “in the process of finalizing which documents will be utilized for accessing this card. People will have to establish their identity and residency, and we’re likely to have a point system similar to the DMV.”

The card will have a number of different security features to prevent fraud, such as holograms, continued Agarwal. He said the city is also working with banks, credit unions and federal regulators to make sure the cards meet federal banking regulations and will be accepted by banking institutions.

According to the Center for Popular Democracy, New York’s ID cards could boost immigrant business.

"The multiplier effect of the municipal ID is going to be huge because of the financial empowerment aspect," said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition in a statement. "People who don't have IDs or a bank account can't participate in the financial system." The advocacy group released a report in February on the positive aspects of ID cards.

Not everyone, however, is thrilled with the idea. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) opposed the idea because it believes the information could be exploited by police.

In a statement, NYCLU’s Advocacy Director, Johanna Miller, said the bill “provides for the city to copy and store people’s most sensitive documentation, like pay stubs, Social Security numbers and even their children’s educational records.”

“In this bill, the city has not done enough to protect those documents from being used by law enforcement,” she added. “The NYPD, FBI, DHS and others can request these documents without having to show probable cause. And if they are requested, the city has no obligation to even notify the person so they might be able to defend their own privacy.”

However, de Blasio said the city is “very, very focused” on confidentiality and privacy.  “A lot of work has gone into making sure that privacy rights are respected in this process “

“The information necessary to provide the ID cards will not be shared with any other government agency or third party, except in two situations,” he said .

“One, when verifying the individual’s path to eligibility for benefits they have applied for… and second, of course, in response to a court order, subpoena or warrant. But the applicants will not be asked about immigrant status … and the application materials will be destroyed no later than two years after submitted. So a number of steps have been taken to ensure the right balance.”

New Haven, Conn., issued the first municipal identification card in the United States. Other cities with municipal ID cards include San Francisco, Asbury Park, N.J. and Washington, D.C. In mid-July Reuters reported that Seattle is considering a city ID card to include illegal immigrants. Similarly, Austin, Texas, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole sponsored a resolution to have municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants.

Reader Comments

Sat, Dec 6, 2014 Jayson

God bless the Mayor! So many Immigrants sacrificed their lives and fought for us in this country they call home. So many Illegal immigrants will give a dollar to a beggar when many of you turn your head away. So many Illegal immigrants came here just to make a better life for themselves and their families abide by the laws of this country that so many of you do not respect. How can a human being think that another human being deserve a prisoner's id if they didn't commit a crime? There's always someone who has a negative comment. Don't forget that there are good people out there who just need to survive

Mon, Nov 3, 2014

the way i see it is NYC want to keep a control of the amount of people inside the country, Citizens and Immigrants, some of you are asking for prison ID when I bet sometime of your life you have used a non citizen to do your Job, to clean your home, to Do something you could'v never done without them... so now is time to reward the abuse You have been given to these ( Illegal, Criminals * how you call it* ) stop being the victim and stop blaming others just because you were born inside the country doesn't mean you are GOD to choose everyone's Destiny, don't be so judgmental When In so many of these countries you have gone and change everything but without giving anything in return, I bet you like to travel around the world, and when you go to a different country you like to be treated Right? just because you are an american Citizen doesn't make u Immune in another country, For them you are not an illegal but a Visitor no matter how you Got into the nation. Ya'll are grown enough to keep on hating and to keep on acting up like this, Is this the type of education you provide in your Family ? if yes, then you're so wrong and mindless!

Thu, Sep 18, 2014 Christopher O'Hare United States

I am tired of the term "undocumented immigrants", they are Illegal Aliens. Instead of Municipal ID they should be getting Prison IDs. They are violating the law, and the idiots in charge want more of them, for their illegal votes

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

NY officials might want to look at model ID system underway in the UAE. Their initiative is more forward looking but then NY govt. officials, dating back to Robert Moses have a history of looking at a bigger picture. See more at "UAE National ID Program: Model Worth Watching" - by a former GCN editor: http://ow.ly/Av1sN

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