The New York Civil Liberties Union today submitted testimony in support of the New York City Council’s proposal to issue municipal identity cards to city residents regardless of their immigration status. The proposed municipal ID would help undocumented New Yorkers carry out crucial tasks such as leasing apartments, buying medicine, picking up their kids from school and reporting crimes to the NYPD.

The proposed municipal ID, introduced in the City Council earlier this month, would be available to all city residents, not only those who are undocumented. Today is the first public hearing on the bill.

“This program holds great holds great promise for New Yorkers who struggle to access other means of photo identification,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Unfortunately, many of our city’s most vulnerable residents – including the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the homeless and transgender people – face major obstacles to obtaining traditional forms of identification. This legislation is essential for removing those barriers and creating a safe and secure city for all New Yorkers.”

To get a municipal ID, applicants will need to present some of their most personal, private and sensitive records, such as passports, birth certificates, government benefit cards, and social security and tax ID numbers. The proposed legislation aims to protect against potentially serious privacy violations by prohibiting the city from retaining those personal documents in hard copy or digital format.

“The success of this program hinges on the city’s ability to keep people’s private information private – and not entered into an electronic database where it could become the target of identity theft or shared with other city agencies,” said NYCLU Advocacy Director Johanna Miller. “All applicants must be shielded from both unscrupulous people and federal agencies who might seek an undocumented individual’s identity data. We commend the City Council for including the proper protections to safeguard the privacy of all New Yorkers.”