But thanks to the latest initiative to arise out of the de Blasio administration, all city residents may soon have access to municipal IDs that would open new doors to underserved communities.
As it stands, many city services can be denied to people who are unable to produce proper identification, and often those denied service are the ones who need it most.
Championed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and introduced in the City Council by Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca, municipal ID legislation has been lauded by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and looks to have solid support from the rest of the council, giving it a good chance for passage.
Though creating an inroad for shadow residents to come into the light may lead to a jump in claimed city services and possibly an added burden on taxpayers, long-term benefits of such a plan are numerous and far outweigh immediate costs.
For one, homeless New Yorkers will have easier access to enrollment in housing programs, giving them opportunities they’ve never had before to rise up off the streets and reconnect with society in positive ways.
And while in Albany, DREAM Act legislation failed to pass by a narrow margin earlier this year, this measure would allow illegal immigrants with muni IDs access to community and educational services currently unavailable to them.
For illegal immigrant parents with children enrolled in city schools, they would be able to attend school events and conferences on campus, which requires a photo ID. Who could possibly argue against legislation that allows for better parenting?
What’s more, muni IDs would allow LGBTQ residents to gender self-identify, something currently not possible with state IDs. For transgender residents who wish to be identified with their chosen, rather than their birth, gender, this is a major breakthrough.
Plain and simple, a municipal ID program will help strengthen New York City at some of its weakest points, and it’s a bolstering that’s long overdue.