CIVIC CENTER — The city’s undocumented immigrants could soon see that label disappear under a bill being introduced in the city council to provide municipal ID cards to immigrants.
“New York City Identity Cards will provide New Yorkers with broader access to City services, foster better community relations and help bring stability to all City residents- this is a smart, humane policy that will help New Yorkers,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement announcing the legislation.
The ID card — which Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to implement as part of his State of the City speech — would be made available to anyone who lives in the five boroughs, including the homeless and others who lack identification. City agencies would be required to accept the card under the legislation, according to city officials.
“Having an official form of identification will bring dignity and peace of mind to many fellow residents currently living in the shadows,” the mayor said in a statement praising the council’s legislation.
The legislation would also push the city to work with banks and other public and private institutions to accept the cards as identification.
“Everybody needs identification everywhere you go in New York City,” Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm, a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement. “Without ID, individuals are not allowed to enter schools to pick up their children. This legislation makes New York City a safer, more inclusive city.”
City officials said the IDs would require that the card be designed to deter fraud, much like a driver's license or passport.
The process of applying for the cards would require provide proof of residency and identity to be approved, much like a driver's license.
Bank statements, utility bills, proof that a child is enrolled in the city school system, and a written note from a homeless shelter that receives city funding that declares a stay of at least 15 days are among the documents that would be accpeted.
But opponents of the legislation say the city has no business providing IDs in the first place.
"This should be totally handled by the federal government," Brooklyn Republican state Sen. Martin Golden said on Thursday. "The city of New York shouldn't be dealing with it."
Golden said the city IDs could have negative and unforeseen consequences.
"We have to remember what happened on 9/11 — we don’t want these cards slipping through and having these documents potentially hurt us," he said.