At a hearing today about the New York City Council's proposal to issue municipal identity cards to city residents regardless of their immigration status, the New York Civil Liberties Union plans to testify about the risks the legislation creates for some of New York City's most vulnerable residents.

The following can be attributed to NYCLU Advocacy Director Johanna Miller:

"A municipal ID is a valuable tool for New Yorkers to accomplish basic things like opening a bank account or easily obtaining access to their child’s school or daycare. It will affirm and protect transgender New Yorkers who struggle to obtain proper identity documents. It will acknowledge the participation and contributions of immigrants, homeless people, and other marginalized communities to our city. The benefits of having a government identification card are significant, and carry with them a great promise of participation in all New York has to offer.

"Unfortunately, the bill that is before the mayor today also provides for the city to copy and store people’s most sensitive documentation, like pay stubs, social security numbers, and even their children’s educational records. In this bill, the city has not done enough to protect those documents from being used by law enforcement. The NYPD, FBI, DHS and others can request these documents without having to show probable cause. And if they are requested, the city has no obligation to even notify the person so they might be able to defend their own privacy. For these reasons, the NYCLU regretfully cannot support this legislation.

"While the NYC ID will bring benefits to many people, we are disappointed that the city is inviting New Yorkers to gamble with the stakes as high as prosecution or even deportation. Because of the serious risks, it is incumbent on the city to fully utilize the protective features built into the program: the reporting requirement will provide valuable metrics on how and when people’s documents are used by law enforcement, and the sunset provision gives the city a meaningful opportunity to end the document retention after a preliminary period."

To read the NYCLU's full statement, click here.