News / USA

Immigrant-Friendly NYC Mayor Pushes Official IDs for All

Immigrant-Friendly NYC Mayor Pushes Official IDs for Alli
X
Adam Phillips
April 12, 2014 3:04 AM
Immigration advocates in the United States continue to press for sweeping reforms that will clear a path to citizenship for all immigrants, including those without valid visas, and grant them access to many of the benefits and protections that U.S. citizens enjoy. VOA’s Adam Phillips files this report from immigrant-rich New York, where the new mayor is hoping to implement a new universal identity card program that will help undocumented immigrants move into the city’s mainstream.
Immigrant-Friendly NYC Mayor Pushes Official IDs for All
Adam Phillips
Immigration advocates in the United States continue to press for sweeping reforms that will clear a path to citizenship for all immigrants, including those without valid visas, and grant them access to many of the benefits and protections that U.S. citizens enjoy. In immigrant-rich New York, the new mayor is hoping to implement a new universal identity card program that will help undocumented immigrants move into the city’s mainstream.

Mere blocks from City Hall, immigration advocates rallied for what organizers billed as “A National Day of Action.”

Nisha Agarwal, New York City’s Immigration Commissioner, represented Mayor Bill de Blasio. He has made sweeping immigration reform a centerpiece of his policy agenda.
“So we’re here to support and also to show that New York is leading the way in terms of leading a pro-immigrant equality agenda but hopefully [one] that hopefully the nation will follow,” said Agarwal.

Carlos Menchaca, chairman of the City Council’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, sponsored legislation to issue municipal ID cards to every New Yorker.

“This legislation is designed to bring people out of the shadows and give them identification. This is for every New Yorker, it doesn’t matter your status. If you reside here, and you want to prove your identity, we want to give you a card,” said Menchaca.

Advocates - like Bakari Tsandia - say this will help the city’s African Diaspora community.

“… Because if you are undocumented, a person with an expired national ID, you will not be able to have access to certain buildings," said Tsandia. "You will not be able to open a bank account. You will not be able to have a regular life as a normal New Yorker.”

Proponents argue that ID’s are key to economic empowerment in other ways. Without a valid ID, many new immigrants who drive taxis cannot get their driver’s licenses renewed.

Without identity papers, parents cannot enter their children’s schools for parent-teacher conferences.  And advocates say children not born in the U.S. have another disadvantage.

Bronx community leader Abrourazakou Bowa took a group of high schoolers to an event where IDs were examined at the door.

“The youth who were born here were able to enter. But those who came without any ID, we left them outside. Because of the ID. I was so sad about those two youths,” said Bowa.

Not everyone at the rally was in favor of reform. Peter Katalenas of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement, has little sympathy for undocumented immigrants of any age.

“We believe anybody who comes to this country without permission shouldn’t be here and shouldn‘t stay here. I wouldn’t want somebody to come to my house and live here with without my permission.

I am sure most people don’t [want that either,” he said.

Analysts agree that the ID law and other immigration reforms are likely to pass the New York City Council and be signed by de Blasio in the near future. Federal overhaul of immigration laws has been stalled for months in the U.S. Congress, however, and little action is expected from Washington prior to November’s midterm elections.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
April 12, 2014 9:10 AM
I believe the word that you may be looking for is illegal migrant, not immigrant. Immigrants file paperwork to become citizens, migrants do not. Call them what they really are, undocumented democrats. There already exists a clear path to citizenship. File the legal paperwork.

by: wigglwagon from: appalachia
April 12, 2014 7:04 AM
Congress should institute a bill mandating prison time without parole for the employers of illegal workers. That would virtually end the problem of illegal immigration. That would also put at least 8 million American workers back on jobs and paying taxes instead of needing to collect unemployment and welfare.

by: James Macdonald
April 12, 2014 6:50 AM
I live legally in NYC and pay income tax.

I know 4 illegal aliens who live in the city. All of them work entirely off-the books jobs and therefore pay no income taxes.

I don't want my taxes to be increased to pay the cost of a municipal ID card that mostly benefits people who are breaking the law by being in this country.
In Response

by: SS3107 from: New Jersey
April 17, 2014 9:22 PM
I live and work illegally in the US for 14 years already. I've been paying my taxes since day one and I believe I'm not the only one. There are really illegals that don't deserve the right to live here (criminals, drug dealers, gang members etc.) but there are also people that deserve those rights. I've been respecting this country, never had any problem with the law. I'm not in favor of legalization of every one but there must be a way for those who deserve.

Thank you.
In Response

by: prince joy from: Nigeria
April 13, 2014 10:36 AM
Dont you think if they are turned legal and out of the shadow where they presently live, they will be able to pay those taxes you think they are not paying and your taxes will not only reduce, but there will economic buoyancy.
In Response

by: forumsforjustice from: USA
April 12, 2014 6:54 PM
A growing majority of the people are rightfully against legalization amnesty for illegal immigrants

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs