NYC ID Good News for All New Yorkers
In July, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law an identification system that will make it possible for all New Yorkers to gain access to municipal services, interact safely with law enforcement and government agencies, enjoy world-class cultural institutions, and participate more openly in the life of their city.
The ID program will offer a photo identification card for residents of New York City who are at least 14 years old, regardless of immigration status, homeless status, or gender identity. When it is launched, in January 2015, the city’s ID system will be the largest such program in the US.
“We applaud the City Council and the Mayor’s office for taking this critical step toward a more inclusive and vibrant city. The lack of a valid ID card has made life difficult for so many of the clients we serve, in particular immigrants and transgender or gender non-conforming people, who struggle to navigate City services, interact with government officials and law enforcement, seek employment, and gain access to most buildings, both public and private,” said NYLAG President and Attorney-in-Charge Yisroel Schulman. “If executed well, the ID system will enhance lives, and protect vulnerable and marginalized New Yorkers.”
Because of their lack of legal status, undocumented immigrants with no means of identifying themselves are often too afraid to seek municipal services and benefits to which they are entitled, and avoid seeking assistance from the police when a crime has occurred. The lack of access to accurate and valid ID cards is also a pressing issue for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
Not having a valid ID that accurately reflect a person’s self-identified gender is one of the greatest factors in causing discrimination and often leads to humiliation, harassment and violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people.
According to City officials, the widespread adoption of the new ID cards by a broad range of residents will be a priority in order to guarantee that the ID card does not stigmatize and further marginalize those who carry it. To encourage enrollment, the Mayor announced in September that all ID card holders will have access to one-year free memberships at over 30 museums, performing arts centers and zoos in all five boroughs, as well as discounts at a range of shops and restaurants throughout the city. Click here for more information.