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Broad Support For Municipal IDs During First City Council Hearing

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The City Council on Wednesday held its first hearing on the proposed bill to create municipal identification cards, addressing issues ranging from ensuring the card had a broad appeal, to fraud prevention.

“Obviously with the implementation of any sort of new ID there’s going to be immediate concerns regarding fraud... the potential of fraud, or any security measures,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “And that’s being heard, and we’re discussing it.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Wednesday at an unrelated event at police headquarters that he is not opposed to municipal ID cards, but wants to make sure the program is secure enough to eliminate fraud.

“Certainly we would have concerns as to the validation processes going forward,” he said.

The Council introduced a municipal ID bill earlier this month. The cards would allow holders, including illegal immigrants, to open bank accounts and get access to local government buildings and schools.

Representatives of the de Blasio administration at the hearing said they would like the program implemented by the end of the year, but didn't want to say how much money will be set aside for it in the city's budget, which is due in June.

They said they were working to ensure New Yorkers can apply for new municipal IDs in locations all over the city, including specific sites and city agencies where they already access other services.

Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, also said the city was working to create a card many people, and not just the city’s estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, would be interested in getting. She said the city was talking to cultural institutions, such as museums, to try to secure discounts to municipal ID holders.

“This is a card that has to have benefits and incentives built into it that make it appealing to all New Yorkers,” Agarwal said.

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