Here’s your chance to become a real card-carrying New Yorker. On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the launch of an ambitious identity card program for residents of all five New York City boroughs. The IDNYC municipal identification card is the first of its kind in the city and will provide all NYC residents with a valid ID to open bank accounts or gain access to public institutions and services.
Speaking in front of the Queens Library on Monday, Mr. de Blasio hailed the program’s intended purpose of allowing all New Yorkers equal access to city buildings or services which require some form of identification. “IDNYC is not only a card for all New Yorkers, it is the gateway to City services, the key to opening a bank account or getting a library card, and the ticket to many of our city’s finest cultural institutions,” said the mayor. “More than that, this card represents who we are: New Yorkers who value equality, opportunity and diversity.”
The free IDNYC card will be available to all New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants, homeless persons, and people of all genders above the age of 14. To be eligible for the card, residents must be able to prove their identity by showing a document that includes their photo and proof of NYC residency.
Currently, those who sign up for the card will be able to open bank accounts at 10 major financial institutions and be able to enter hospitals or their children’s school. The program also allows access to various city institutions and services that require proper ID upon entry. Additionally, the card comes with a few perks such as yearlong memberships to various cultural sites like the Bronx Zoo as well as access to the NYC public library system.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a dedicated proponent of immigration rights, emphasized the positive impact of the new identity program. “More than an I.D. card, it is an affirmation,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said. “It’s an affirmation that if you live here, if you pay taxes and if you send your kids to school here, you are a New Yorker… You are a New Yorker and it’s an affirmation that if you are trans, if you are homeless, if you are a senior, if you’re undocumented, if you’re a veteran, you are a New Yorker. And this is an I.D. card for all of them and all of us.”
Many critics of the identity program warn that the card could be used to target undocumented immigrants while others have voiced privacy concerns for all card holders. However, according to de Blasio, as part of the program, any personal records used to show eligibility can only be accessed with judicial authority.