“8 Million New Yorkers. 1 Card For All Of Us!”
Starting in January of 2015, New York has been issuing free municipal identification cards for all New York City residents…and the line is out the door and wrapped around the city.
What is IDNYC?
It's a government-issued photo ID card available to all New York City residents over the age of 14, including undocumented immigrants, who in the past had no identification they could use to access services such as open a bank account, use a city library or use to pay utilities.
“IDNYC benefits every city resident, including the most vulnerable communities—the homeless, youth, the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.”
The goals of this new card are to enhance public safety, grant access to services to the public, and provide a series of benefits to cardholders, like free one-year membership to museums, zoos, concert halls, and botanical gardens.
Right away, the demand was overwhelming! Lines were wrapped around the building and appointments were booked up to six months to get an ID card.
Over 100,000 New Yorkers have already benefited from this, and a projected half a million immigrants will benefit from the card.
Although there have been concerns regarding some potential negatives of this card, there have already been a lot of positive outcomes.
Here are just a few:
• The increased access to cultural institutions is creating an erudite population.
• Identification decreases the number of individuals who are arrested for not being able to verify their identity, which reduces stress on the overwhelmed courts and crowded prisons.
• Identification (while not providing work authorization) legitimizes a person in an employer’s eyes.
Identification is something we often take for granted-until we don’t have it. It is easy to overlook how essential identification is to thrive in a community.
This movement is spreading to other cities, providing new opportunities for those who didn’t have means to identification before. With safety and the well-being of city residents in mind, this new municipal identification program is doing great things to build a strong community and enhance the city experience of all city residents. What a great way to contribute to the beautiful American melting pot!
For answers to IDNYC FAQs visit: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/idnyc/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions.page