At least one Caribbean group has already embraced the recently-launched IDNYC government-issued, identification card.
According to Mel Newell, a member of the Jamaica Progressive League Inc., the organization intends to promote application of the free, photo identification now available to more than 500,000 immigrants without legal status who consider New York City home.
“This is a great advantage to undocumented workers who have no legitimate form of ID to now participate and be included without alienation.”
Although Newell does not fit into the undocumented immigrant status, he applied for the official, hologram ID prior to the Jan. 12 launch by walking into a branch of the New York Public Library and asking for an application.
He said he took his passport, a NYS non-driver’s ID card and within minutes was approved for the City Council-approved document.
He said the process was quick and without complications.
Available to residents of New York City, any individual 14 years or older are eligible to apply for the free card through 2015.
Approved by the City Council last June, IDNYC fulfils a campaign promise by Mayor Bill de Blasio to ease the burden of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents including the homeless, youth, the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.
“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,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.
“More than that, this card represents who we are: New Yorkers who value equality, opportunity and diversity.”
The card allows program participants to obtain entertainment discounts on movie tickets, Broadway shows, sporting events and theme parks. It also comes with a free one-year membership package for 33 of the city’s top cultural institutions.
IDNYC helps enhance public safety, by serving as a recognized ID for interacting with NYPD. Law enforcement officials have said the card will be used to issue summonses or desk appearance tickets instead of arrest.
Applicants must present proof of identity, including foreign passports and birth certificates, as well as proof of New York City residency.
IDNYC cardholders can access services and programs offered by the City as well as by businesses.
It also helps New Yorkers gain access to all city buildings that provide services to the public and is accepted as a form of identification for accessing numerous city programs and services.
At the launch, the mayor said: “Today, we are launching the most ambitious, dynamic and useful municipal ID program in the country, which will have a real and tangible impact on the lives of all New Yorkers.”