NYC's proposed ID program offers relief for undocumented immigrants

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 11, 2014

NEW YORK CITY – Undocumented Filipinos in New York could soon get much needed relief after a landmark piece of legislation was introduced at the New York City Council Thursday.

Bill sponsors Daniel Dromm, Council Member from Queens and Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn proposed a city-wide municipal identification card program touted as the largest in the nation.

It would be available to all New Yorkers regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation even immigration status.

If passed, undocumented immigrants here would be able to get access to bank accounts, library cards, even memberships to establishments like Costco.

The ID cards could also be used to get an apartment and even bus passes.

To get one, residents would have to provide proof of residency and identity.

Undocumented immigrants will be able to show their foreign passports as proof of identity.

Dromm said, “It’s also going to have a side benefit of helping our undocumented come out of the shadows to possess some form of identification, which everybody knows you need identification today to get into most buildings in New York City… to do anything in New York City you need Identification.”

“The time is now to have an ID card shaped by New Yorkers, for New Yorkers and we will be working in partnership with the administration to make sure that this ID ultimately have sweeping benefits from banking to reaching our city’s institutions,” Menchaca said.

For now, no date has been set for a public hearing on the bill. Similar measures have passed in San Francisco, Calif. and New Haven, Conn.

Advocates say this card is also a big win for the LGBT community – aside from displaying the cardholder’s name, birth date and address, it will also show the cardholder’s “self-designated gender.”

Menchaca said, “I will be actively working with colleagues here at the City Council to make sure that we have the best bill in place that will roll out the first and most impressive municipal ID card program in New York City. But in order to accomplish that we really need to hear from the public.”

Meantime, New Yorkers have mixed reactions on the proposed Municipal ID card.

“Kailangan din silang magkaroon ng identification,” Eva Elsman said, “In fairness to them, na kasi pumunta sila dito para guminhawa din ang pamilya sa atin, pero supposedly dapat mabigyan sila ng way dahil hindi naman sila pumunta rito para manggulo kundi tumulong din sa bansang America.”

Jason De Leon said, “I’m not against it. I mean, as long as it’s able to help them work and contribute to community, I’m all for it.”

“What’s the point?” Philadelphia, PA resident who works in Manhattan asked? “We already have state IDs everywhere and this is going to give an opportunity for undocumented persons to have an ID. What are they going to do with that? There already is a standard for IDs, for drivers license. Why have something else?”

If passed, this city law shall take effect 6 months after its enactment.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

8 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    11 April 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    NO TO TPS and NO to Immigration Reform ….. is i care.

  • leyteboy
    11 April 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    ….another half-baked american fuming foul…. “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” good job NY!!!

  • Papacock
    11 April 2014 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Hoy kikay mag isip ka sa iyong ASS sa iyong alam Mona

  • JRB
    12 April 2014 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    I don’t think it’s going to pass, New york is underwater, they don’t know what is good for the real Americans. That where the all the bad people live. So forget it it’s not to pass.

  • araceli l.laquian
    13 April 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Sana nga pumasa yan

  • noz
    13 April 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    radical socialist politicians are pro-illegal aliens, anti-american reasonable values, into pandering, legitimizing illegalities for the sake/self-interests of the democRATS in widening their voting base. these radical politician lawmakers are shoving to the throats of americans this disturbing law legalizing outlaws. irresponsible politicians voted in power couldn’t care less of the outcome of such reckless, alarming proposed bylaw.

  • filam
    14 April 2014 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Tell me how this is going to help unemployed Americans find jobs?

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