(Our focus in this piece is on the NYC municipal ID card but as there has been no decision yet as to what it will look like, we are representing the ID image with a generic Oakland muni-card ID, [Oakland City ID]. Interestingly, the Oakland IDs are paired with Mastercard.)
A municipal identification card is a form of ID card issued by a municipality, such as a city, rather than a state or federal government.
Under federal law, cities may issue their own identification cards as they see fit, and do not have to consider the immigration or criminal status of an applicant before doing so. New Haven, Connecticut issued the first municipal ID cards in the United States, the Elm City Resident Card, in 2007. San Francisco followed suit in 2009 and now, other cities that issue municipal ID cards include Oakland, California, Asbury Park, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. (DC One Card). The municipal ID card is intended to help people to access city services and enter city buildings.
Now jumps in NYC’s Mayor DeBlasio who signed the bill authorizing municipal ID cards in July of this year. The cards are supposed to be available early next year, at which point New York will undoubtedly leapfrog New Haven and San Francisco in having the largest municipal ID program in the country.
NYC officials are negotiating with banks, stores, restaurants and cultural institutions to also recognize the municipal ID cards, but have offered few examples where the card would be accepted. The January 2015 roll-out of the NYC municipal cards is anticipated to be utilized by 500,000 immigrants of varying legal resident status.
The program will be run by the city’s Human Resources agency. Applications for the card will be available online as well as at enrollments sites around the city, like the public libraries.
Several questions immediately leap to mind:
1. What is the identification verification criteria and process?
2. Will the NYC muni-IDs be valid outside of the metro NYC area? (E.g.: If NYC follows Oakland’s lead and multi-purposes these IDs to serve as pre-paid debit cards, will they be accepted in outer-borough banking facilities?)
3. Will these muni-IDs be linked to benefits? (Medical, personal welfare programs, education…) If so, ill they be accepted on a federal level as a form of identification?
I believe it is necessary for all people to have access to financial, social and educational programs; these days, however, security is also a major concern. NYC’s municipal identification card agenda bears watching.
BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.
As always, stay safe.