Mayor de Blasio assured naysayers today that the immigrant ID card legislation he signed into law will protect the privacy of undocumented immigrants.
The mayor used the backdrop of the Brooklyn Public Library, with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito by his side, as he officially created the New York City Municipal Identification Card. The library will serve as one of the many walk-in enrollment centers where you can sign up for a card when the program kicks off in January 2015.
He said, “. . . this card is important for all New Yorkers. It is important for all of us to have a better city. Even for those who already have ID, we’re going to make sure that this card brings a lot to the equation, a lot of benefits that will go with it. But for those who don’t have ID, it’s going to be crucial. And that includes a lot of people.”
Almost half a million undocumented immigrants can apply for the card. In addition, those leaving prison and hoping to start again are eligible. The program also hopes to help older people without driver’s licenses, young people in foster care and transgender people.
The city plans to make enrollment widely accessible using an online site and mobile enrollment units that tour the city.
The idea is get those who need the ID card to enroll quickly and to get banks and other institutions to recognize it as a legitimate form of ID.
Mayor de Blasio said, “A lot of work has gone into making sure that privacy rights are respected in this process. The information necessary to provide the ID cards will not be shared with any other government agency or third party, except in two situations. One, when verifying the individual’s path to eligibility for benefits they have applied for. The individual applies for benefits and that verification has to happen, that’s something that the individual chooses to act on. And second, of course, in response to a court order, subpoena or warrant. But the applicants will not be asked about immigrant status.”