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IDNYC – The Largest Municipal ID Program In The Nation; The Good, The Bad and the WTH??

idnyc v02

What is IDNYC?   As of January 15, 2015, New York City became the largest city in the nation to issue municipal IDs. IDNYC is a free, government-issued identification card that is available to all City residents age 14 and older. Immigration status is irrelevant and not factored into eligibility.

How Does One Obtain An IDNYC? From the IDNYC website:

To get an IDNYC card, you must meet the following criteria:

1) At least four (4) points of documents with:

– At least three (3) points of documents proving identity.
– At least one (1) point of documents proving residency.

2) At least one (1) of the documents submitted must have a photo of the applicant, unless the applicant is 21 years old or younger and is accompanied by a caretaker who can demonstrate proof of relationship.

3) At least one (1) of the documents submitted has the applicant’s date of birth.

What documents are acceptable to prove identity?  The usuals (US Passport, Driver’s License and U.S Visa) fulfill the 3-point identity requirement but so does any combination of the following:

  • Expired Foreign Passport – within three years (2 points)
  • NYS Benefits Card without photo (1)
  • Access-A-Ride ID Card (1)
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Membership Card (1)
  • U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Authorization Letter (2)
  • Your child’s U.S. Birth Certificate – listing applicant as birth parent (1)
  • Certificate of marriage, domestic partnership, civil union, divorce or dissolution (1)

Seriously, NYC government?  Except for the first document (Expired Foreign Passport), none of the above prove identity and all are without photos.  How does having one’s name written on a birth certificate as the Baby Daddy prove jack?  (Unless the applicant’s name happens to be Jack, I suppose.)  And let’s not get cute about a US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).  I’ve covered this subject in many Bulletins.  TINs, employed by the IRS since 1995,  are issued to employees without SSNs – sans verification.  You can bet your bottom dollar (and I’m sure they’ll take mine as well) that the IRS will not lose out on collecting taxes. 

So, to recap, with a TIN and a Baby Daddy certificate, one has now proven his identity sufficiently for a government-issued I.D.  With such security measures, what could possibly go wrong? Moving along…

What documents are acceptable to prove identity? Aside from again, the usual forms of I.D., these documents are acceptable as proof of residency:

  • Court Order issued by NYS or Federal Court (dated within 60 days)
  • “Care-of Letter” Issued by nonprofit organization or religious institution in NYC serving homeless individuals or survivors of domestic violence. Entity must currently receive City funding. Letter must indicate applicant has received services from the entity for past 60 days and may use entity’s address for mailing purposes (dated within 14 days). Address on card will be “Care Of” the organization.
  • Letter from City agency, nonprofit organization, or religious institution in NYC that provides services to individuals without a home address (dated within 30 days). No address to appear on card.
  • Letter Issued by a Hospital or Health Clinic in NYC (dated within 30 days). No address will appear on the card.

As to the first acceptable form of residency – you just know someone will walk in with an open bench warrant in his/her name, but remember no stop-n-frisk any more.   We’ve already covered the non-identity confirmation of a TIN filer.  If a tax return to a TINner can’t prove identity, how is it proof of residence??

The last three acceptable proof of residency documents are just too ludicrous for me not to have checked with The Onion first.  I’d hate to commit copyright infringement.  But, no, no.  This is the law in NYC.   A letter from Tommy at the Y will do as proof of residency even though the applicant does not live there.  

The combinations to secure an IDNYC are many and almost all can be perverted for whatever nefarious reasons people chose to pass themselves off as someone else or to remain below the radar.

Why an IDNYC card? Once again, per IDNYC:

Your IDNYC card is a broadly accepted, official form of identification. IDNYC is accepted:

  • By City agencies to access many services and programs;
  • By NYPD for the purposes of issuing summons or desk appearance tickets instead of arrest;
  • For entry into public buildings, like schools;
  • For taking the high school equivalency exam in New York City,
  • For opening up checking accounts.

So we’re going to give the unverified Baby Daddy access to services and programs (read: tax $$$), help him avoid arrest, allow him access to public buildings like schools, courthouses, libraries, etc and open up a checking account where money from anywhere can be laundered, I mean, deposited into. 

If anyone can provide a viable reason for the need for more I.D. cards, please let us know. Someone, with journo creds preferably, should test this system for loopholes (craters) and security soundness.

Not to feed into terror or xenophobia but seriously folks, if the system isn’t broken, must the government always stomp in and wreak hell?  Oh the good part of IDNYC  – 25% discount to see the big blue whale hanging in the main hall of the Museum of Natural History. (I can do that on any given warm day sitting on Jones Beach but that’s an unpublishable column for another day.)

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy, face-palming on account of this article. 

As always, be safe.  

 

Municipal ID Cards: Coming Soon To Your City

Oakland ID card

(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.

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