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NYC Mayor De Blasio to Issue ID Cards for Undocumented Immigrants

New York City’s progressive mayor announced plans to raise the minimum wage and issue identity cards to undocumented immigrants in his first State of the City address.

The New York Times reports Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that New York will become the first city to issue municipal ID cards to all residents, regardless of their legal status, making it easier for undocumented immigrants to open bank accounts, rent apartments or even just check out library books.

“We will protect the almost half-million undocumented New Yorkers, whose voices too often go unheard,” de Blasio declared during his State of the City address at La Guardia Community College in Queens. “We will reach out to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status– issuing municipal ID cards available to all New Yorkers this year– so that no daughter or son of our city goes without bank accounts, leases, library cards… simply because they lack identification.”

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

And then de Blasio repeated this message in Spanish:

“La cuidad de Nueva York es el hogar de todos los que vivimos aqui. No dejaremos que ninguno de nuestros residentes viva en las sombras.”

De Blasio promised to issue city ID cards to undocumented immigrants during his mayoral campaign. He touted the success of such cards in nearby New Haven, Connecticut.

“In New Haven… which offers a municipal ID to undocumented people, crime in the largely immigrant Fair Haven community declined 20 percent in the two years after the IDs were introduced, even as crime reporting increased.”

At least 10 US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, have launched their own municipal ID initiatives.

The progressive mayor also pledged to seek the governor’s permission to raise the city’s minimum wage.

“We want to ensure that New Yorkers aren’t relegated to the ranks of the poor when putting in a full week’s work,” he said. “Next week, we will ask Albany to give New York City the power to raise the minimum wage in all five boroughs.”

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat and friend of de Blasio’s, is moving to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 by the end of 2015, the governor shot down the mayor’s hopes by roundly rejecting his request.

“We don’t want to cannibalize ourselves,” Cuomo said on the public radio program “The Capitol Pressroom.”

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