Apply for an IDNYC: access, identification + perks for all.
With 45’s recent executive orders calling for an increase of ICE agents and expanding the categories of people targeted for deportation, fears about increased deportations of undocumented immigrants are rightfully on the rise.
However, NYC and a dozen other cities, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Detroit, and Phoenix, are offering some form of protection for undocumented immigrants with their municipal ID programs. Introduced in 2015, New York’s program, IDNYC, provides free identification cards for all New York City residents age 14 and up -- including undocumented immigrants, the homeless, formerly incarcerated, and others who may have difficulty obtaining government-issued IDs.
If you’re undocumented, or if you want to show your solidarity with undocumented immigrants and support a program that helps our most vulnerable New York City residents (while also getting some amazing benefits), sign up here to make an appointment to apply for the free card.
This program supports many immigrants who struggle to open bank accounts, access health services, or attend school without valid photo IDs. But regardless of your immigration status, IDNYC also gives ID holders access to health, financial, and cultural benefits, like a free one-year membership at many of the city’s museums and zoos, access to city buildings, and discounts on prescription drugs. It also is accepted as a library access card to the three public library systems, and is recognized as identification to open an account at several banks and credit unions. IDNYC has already issued over 1 million cards, and is the largest program nationwide. As Mayor Bill de Blasio remarked when the program was introduced in 2015, “For New Yorkers who couldn’t have an official ID, this card is the key to a fuller life.”
So, why are municipal IDs helpful to undocumented immigrants who fear deportation? ***
In addition to the benefits listed above, these cards serve as a valid form of government-issued identification recognized by the NYPD (which also should be recognized by ICE agents, according to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs). If an undocumented person gets pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint without any form of official identification, NYPD can hand over the person to an ICE agent to be detained and potentially deported. However, the NYPD has stated that they will not inquire about the immigration status of any IDNYC holders (or crime victims, witnesses, or others who approach the police for help).
***Note: We are not lawyers, so please use this information at your own discretion. While some have expressed concern over privacy of IDNYC data under 45’s administration, we spoke to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and were informed that IDNYC’s system is encrypted, and the city government is beholden to confidentiality laws and can't legally share the info with anyone, including ICE agents. If agents were looking for people's info, they would need: 1) a judicial warrant 2) specific information (i.e. name of the person) and a reason for looking for their info (i.e. they committed a crime). Additionally, IDNYC has decided not to store data on new applicants as of 2017.
How to Fight Trump’s Racist Immigration Policies - The Nation
IDNYC: What to know about the city’s ID card - AM New York
Municipal IDs help prevent medical mishaps, provide access to care - Modern Healthcare