The City Council will introduce legislation Thursday that would create an optional municipal ID card for any city resident regardless of their citizenship.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm, who will co-introduce the bill that was first proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio during his State of the City address, said many New Yorkers, especially low income and immigrant adults, don’t have the time or resources to get a driver’s license. As a result they lose access to necessary government and privateservices.
“Everybody needs identification everywhere you go in New York City,” said Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). “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.”
The “New York City Identity Card,” which would contain the cardholder’s photo, name, date of birth and address, would be accepted as a form of ID at city agencies, banks and other places that require a proof of residency. Although the optional card — similar to the one used in New Haven, Conn. — wouldn’t require an applicant to submit certain information such as age or alienage or citizenship status, applicants will need at least two documents to register.
Interested New Yorkers must submit a proof of identity in one of several forms including a U.S. or foreign passport, a social security card, a U.S. permanent resident card or a consular identification card. They must also provide a proof of residency that includes an official form that’s dated no earlier than 60 days prior to the application such as a utility bill, tax refund or a written verification issued by a city homeless shelter.
A spokeswoman for Dromm said each form of proof will be weighed differently and the applicant will have to pay a fee. The mayor’s office will process the applications and screen each resident before issuing the card.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito supports the bill, which appears to have enough votes to pass, according to sources.
“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 Wednesday..
New Yorkers amNewYork spoke to Wednesday said they approve of the idea. Daniel Mazur, 30, moved to the city a decade ago from Romania and said it was a long process to get his citizenship and driver’s license.
Having a more streamlined process for an ID card would make life easier for other immigrants, he said.
“I know how hard it can be without [a license] in your daily life,” Mazur said.
Michelle Klausner, 26, of Bushwick, added that the card would be beneficial to help new Gothamites become accustomed and get settled in the city.
“You need an ID to apply for positions in the city so it’s definitely important to have some sort of card,” the student said.
Some opponents feel the bill would make the city less safe. State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) has publicly criticized Dromm in the past for the ID card proposal and again warned that it would attract suspicious people to the city.
“This mayor is telling illegal aliens, criminals and terrorists alike, ‘Break the law and get to New York as fast as you can. When you do, we will issue you an identity; any identity. Your word is good enough for us,'” he said in a statement.
Dan Levin, 24, of the East Village, however, said the bill would help reform some issues regarding undocumented immigrants since it will help determine who actually lives and works legitimately in the city.
“Immigration reform is a big deal. Whether it’s done on a national level or citywide, we need to get the ball rolling,” he said.
— Bianca Fortis contributed to this report.