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Many NYers Watch Closely as Municipal ID Bill Makes Way Through City Council

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TWC News: Many NYers Watch Closely as Municipal ID Bill Makes Way Through City Council
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Plenty of New Yorkers are watching closely as a bill makes its way through the City Council, men, women and children who don't have access to many basic services because they don't have proper identification. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

A large Caribbean community makes up most of the Northeast Bronx. They're people who aren't usually the face of the immigrant struggle, yet share the frustrations of the undocumented not being able to access basic services to achieve the American Dream.

"In order to be successful and to purchase things, you need to have credit, you need to have bank accounts, but you know what? Then it's a double-edged sword," said City Councilman Andy King of the Bronx. "We don't allow you to have the ID so you can get the bank account so you can establish credit."

A bill just introduced in the City Council would change that. It would provide municipal ID cards for the undocumented and others living here who face barriers to getting IDs, like the homeless and LGBT community.

The card would provide proof of residency, which could open up a wealth of possibilities.

"Housing, employment and even sometimes trying to get your child into school," King said.

"Having this ID will provide a sense of security and a sense that they can talk to the police openly," said Valeria Treves, executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment.

However, the card would not give non-citizens access to social security or other federal benefits.

While the municipal ID card would only help recipients gain access to New York City services, opinion about it is still mixed.

"I think it's a fair idea because people do need an ID, I mean, to go to school, for getting around in the city."

"Immigrants that come into this country, they're taking over. They're taking advantage of a lot of things that we get access to. We can't even get the things we want. They'll get it before us. So I don't know. I think that's unfair," said another.

"Undocumented residents here of the city who actually work and contribute to the economy," said a third. "For them to have some kind of form of identification that gives them less of a paranoid feeling when they might be confronted by police officers, if you will, and it just gives them a sense of belonging."

Complete details, though, still need to be ironed out, and Council members admit there's a long road of hearings and debate ahead before the card could become a reality. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP