CORONA — The City Council voted Thursday to approve municipal ID cards, a move that will provide identification for thousands of New Yorkers.
The cards will provide identification and access to city services to residents who’ve been unable to obtain cards before, including an estimated half a million undocumented immigrants, displaced youth and the homeless.
They’d include the person’s photo, name, date of birth, address and an expiration date, and applicants would be able to choose whichever gender they identify with, according to the City Council.
The initial cost of the program is $8.4 million, and is expected to cost $5.6 million each year.
"Countless people, from the immigrant family in Sunset Park to the transgender youth in Jackson Heights, will now have access to identification vital to performing basic daily tasks, from accessing city buildings to opening bank accounts,” said City Councilman Danny Dromm.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya said the lack of ID for undocumented immigrants has meant “living life in the shadows."
“We are all better off if all of our neighbors are able to access basic services,” he said in a statement.
Rev. William Hoppe, a pastor of St. Leo Catholic Church in Corona and a clergy leader at Faith in New York clergy, said he was familiar with the challenges posed when people are unable to obtain an ID card.
The new bill "will bring them one step closer to more abundantly sharing in the life of our city by being able to open a bank account, have closer ties with the police who work hard to protect them, and enjoy more of the benefits of the economy they contribute so much to," he said.
The program is expected to begin by the end of this year.