Bill de Blasio Helping NYC Immigrants "Out of the Shadows" with Municipal ID Cards
San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, California have either issued or will soon issue municipal ID cards, and New Haven, Connecticut has had local IDs in use for a number of years. Now, New York City is next in line for this promising practice, according to a recent statement made by New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio in his State of the City speech. De Blasio indicated that the IDs will act as a tool to help undocumented New Yorkers who don't want to "live their lives in the shadows."
Effective and functional identification for the immigrant population would mean that they will be given access to services in their community. As "identifiable" and documented non-legal citizens, they will be allowed to open back accounts, acquire ATM cards, file police complaints, lease appointments, access museums, and gain library cards. The ID cards, which will debut this year, will "protect the almost half-million undocumented New Yorkers," though non-immigrants can also obtain the cards.
The municipal ID cards have been long-demanded by advocates for New York's immigrant. State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Jose Peralta followed De Blasio's speech with a joint statement that supported the new form of identification.
The statement confirmed that the cards will shield the undocumented New York population who are normally "vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by unethical employers, landlords and scam artists."
"When we look across the country and see our neighbors in Connecticut, big states with major cities like Illinois and California, and a deep red state like Utah all taking this sensible step forward, there is no reason why the issue remains unaddressed in New York. As comprehensive reform remains stalled in Washington, we applaud Mayor de Blasio's commitment to helping vulnerable immigrant communities," the statement said.
Undocumented individuals will also be allowed to obtain drivers license, which will mean that more NY drivers will be "properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles, making our roads safer and benefiting all New Yorkers."
City administrator Naomi Kelly in San Francisco spoke to NPR about IDs cards and its city-wide use since implemented in 2009. Kelly indicated that the card use was a success, and San Francisco's undocumented population doesn't fear that obtaining the ID cards will result in their deportation.
"Believe it or not, we have not had that fear and I think it's because San Francisco is a safe city of sanctuary," Kelly said. "We have very much done what we could to encourage people to come out of the shadows, that we want to help them. We don't want them to be prey to folks on the street because they carry cash. This is an ability where they can go get bank accounts, get an ATM card. We have not had the fear that there will be immigration raids."
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