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Immigration Advocates Applaud Mayor Bill De Blasio’s ID Card Plan

But Some Concerned About Undocumented New Yorkers Being 'Branded'
Undocumented immigrants and immigration-reform advocates gather at a news conference Feb. 11, 2014, in lower Manhattan. (credit: Getty Images)

Undocumented immigrants and immigration-reform advocates gather at a news conference Feb. 11, 2014, in lower Manhattan. (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Undocumented immigrants and their supporters are cheering Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for creating city identification cards this year. But, as WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported, they also want to make sure New York gets it right.

During his State of the City address Monday, de Blasio vowed to make municipal ID cards available to all residents in 2014 regardless of their immigration status, “so that no daughter or son of our city goes without bank accounts, leases, library cards, simply because they lack identification.”

“To all of my fellow New Yorkers who are undocumented, I say: New York City is your home, too, and we will not force any of our residents to live their lives in the shadows,” he said.

Aracely Cruz said she’s been waiting 10 years to hear a promise like de Blasio’s.

“I face fear every day,” she said. “I don’t trust anybody.”

Cruz was among the immigration reform proponents who gathered at a news conference Tuesday in lower Manhattan. Also in attendance were a mother who wants the freedom to walk into her child’s school and a day laborer who says he has spent 15 years in Queens with nothing to show to prove he’s part of the city.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, D-Brooklyn, head of the Immigration Committee, said members are drafting a bill to create the cards and plans to hold a hearing on the matter within the next month.

“We’re not going to wait for a federal government to give us reform,” he said.

“We’re tired of Congress failing us and failing our families,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. “And what we do in New York is we don’t wait for Congress.”

One concern advocates such as Steve Choi, executive director of the New York City Immigration Coalition, have is “we have to make sure we are ensuring trust, that the city agencies, such as the library and the police, are able to really accept these municipal ID cards without fear that folks are going to be branded somehow.”

Brittny Saunders, a lawyer with the Center for Popular Democracy, said other cities have created an incentive for citizens to also obtain the cards “by connecting up these IDs with discounts at local businesses.”

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, agreed the ID cards should be used for all New Yorkers, not just undocumented immigrants.

“I, for one, intend to get a municipal ID because I want to use the ID that’s accessible to all New Yorkers,” she said.

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