NY Immigrant ID Program Declared Success


Immigrant activists on Thursday trumpeted the success of the city’s immigrant ID program and encouraged using it as a model for other localities.

The Center for Popular Democracy released a toolkit underlining the overall benefits of an accessible city identification card and how to implement the system into state policy and accept them as government issued cards.

“We hope this toolkit will be a resource and powerful tool that inspires advocates and community members everywhere to push for muni ID programs in their communities, showing what is possible when cities and localities take the lead,” said Shena Elrington, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.

The ID NYC program has proved a success in less than a year issuing free, government issued identification cards to over 350,000 New York residents since its start in January 2015, according to the Center of Popular Democracy. Other cities such as Newark, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut have followed New York’s lead and adopted the municipal ID program, said Elrington.

As stated in a press release, a municipal ID gives all New York residents access to medical benefits, opening bank accounts and registering children for school (to name a few) regardless of sexual orientation, immigration status and other factors that deter an individual from receiving a government issued ID. Other benefits include discounts to city venues and attractions.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca led the group in chants of, “Si, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”) as he joined in celebration and encouraged them to continue to fight for their rights. The toolkit, he referred to as a “symbol of hope”, is only the beginning.

“You are changing the world for the entire United States,” he said to the crowd. “The ID is just the beginning, it is a gateway.”

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