NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a bill that will launch a municipal ID program in New York City.
The mayor says the legislation will benefit all New Yorkers, especially the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the five boroughs. De Blasio says it will also help former inmates and young people in foster care.
The identification cards won't work for international or domestic travel, but they will be recognized by the NYPD as an official document. They will also give transgendered people the chance to choose their gender for the first time on their personal ID, and will give homeless people a chance to more easily access city services. With the ID cards, people will be able to open bank accounts and library cards and sign apartment leases.
Anyone wanting to register for a card will need proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, foreign driver's license or government-issued ID. You will also need proof of residency, and can use things like a utility bill, an employment pay stub or proof of your child's school enrollment.
Officials say there will be walk-in enrollment centers established throughout the city and that an application will be posted online. The program is expected to take effect by the end of the year.
Those opposed to the measure say the card would give law enforcement too much access to private information, especially for undocumented immigrants. De Blasio insists that people will not be asked their immigration status when they sign up. Supporters say it will help incorporate hard-working immigrants into American society.