Mayor de Blasio last Thursday signed into law the measure that will create municipal identification cards for New York City residents. Although available to anyone, the cards are especially designed for people who will not or cannot get other forms of ID, such as illegal immigrants.
The mayor noted at a hearing held the day before the bill signing that many New Yorkers don’t have driver’s licenses — though he did not address the nondriver’s ID the state offers them — and that undocumented residents are forced to “live in the shadows” because they lack proper identification.
“This will be the first time for many many New Yorkers to have that basic document that makes it possible to get a lease, to get a bank account, to get a library card, to get so many of the things that make day-to-day life possible,” de Blasio said. “Hundreds of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers — people who are part of our communities, our neighborhoods, but don’t have those basic opportunities — the municipal ID card is going to open up those opportunities to them.”
De Blasio also pointed out that transgendered people will be able to choose which sex they wish to be identified by on the cards, something he said they cannot do on other officially recognized forms of ID.
The bill was primarily sponsored by Councilmen Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn).
“The way that I look at this municipal ID is that it’s a municipal ID for all,” Dromm said at an April hearing on the measure, “and we want to make sure that all New Yorkers avail themselves of this identification; that is crucial to the distribution of these IDs.”
The bill passed the Council 43-3 June 26, with only the Republican members, including Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), in dissent. It is expected to cost the city $8.4 million next fiscal year and $5.6 million the year after that. The city plans to get private entities to provide benefits to cardholders to encourage its use.