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Immigration Reform News Update: NYC Council Speaker to Pitch NYC Municipal ID Program in Arizona

First Posted: Apr 07, 2015 05:00 AM EDT

New York City's municipal ID program will be pitched in Arizona by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito later this month.

NYC is the largest U.S. city to implement the municipal ID program, which allows undocumented individuals to apply for identification regardless of class or status in the U.S. Mark-Viverito helped launch the program in NYC, which went in effect on Jan. 1, and attracted thousands of applicants. According to Al Jazeera America, NYC's municipal ID program became a "hot ticket" with thousands lining up during its first month resulting in lengthy waiting times.

Mark-Viverito was invited to speak in Phoenix on April 17 by the One Phoenix ID coalition, which comprises of business and civic organization hoping to create a municipal ID program in their city. The Associated Press reported she will meet with Phoenix's government officials.

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For Latin Post's "Turnout" series in March, Mark-Viverito commented about the city's municipal ID program. She said, "The Municipal ID is helpful to undocumented immigrants, but it is for every New Yorker, so, the transgender community can self-identify in the cards and sometimes that's very important to the gay community. Obviously, it's very important for seniors who maybe have difficulty getting some sort of state ID. It's important for the undocumented, as well."

Johanna Miller, advocacy director for the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) said the municipal ID program is a "valuable tool" for New Yorkers to accomplish basic tasks such as opening a bank account, gaining access to their child's school or daycare, protecting the transgender population and recognizing the "participation and contribution" of immigrants and marginalized communities.

In NYC, obtaining the municipal ID -- also referred to as IDNYC -- is free of cost, and the application process is available in 25 languages

As the AP noted, Mark-Viverito was born in Puerto Rico and was later elected into the New York City Council in 2005, representing sections of Harlem and the south Bronx. Following her re-election in 2013, she campaigned for the council's speaker role and successfully won. With the speakership victory, Mark-Viverito also became the first Hispanic to hold the position.


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