- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2015

New York’s new identification cards for illegal immigrants go up for grabs Monday, giving the 500,000 or so individuals in the city unlawfully the chance to come out of the shadows and open bank accounts with participating institutions.

The card also gives illegals access to state buildings and a free one-year membership to enter the city’s top cultural institutions, The Guardian reported.

“The system will acknowledge for the first time that I exist,” said a woman who gave her name only as Lupe, 33, a mother of three who illegally came to New York from Varacruz in 2003, The Guardian reported.

Lupe said she hasn’t been able to conduct banking business with her Mexican passport and that the inability to possess a proper identification card has been tough.

“I’m basically invisible in this city without proper identification,” she told The Guardian reported. “My husband and I work hard every day, we have children and the security that something as simple as an ID card will give us cannot be overstated.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a platform of reforming the city’s immigration policies — and the identification card is a step in that direction, said Betsy Plum, director of special projects at the New York Immigrant Coalition.

“Something as simple as a form of identification could be a quality-of-life improvement for these New Yorkers,” she said, The Guardian reported. “For example, if your employer unlawfully fires you and you want to contest it in court, you can’t even get into a public building without an ID. There are real tangible benefits here.”

The card does not serve as an authorization to work, or to receive city, state and federal benefits, said Muzzaffar Chishti, an expert on U.S. immigration policy at the Migration Policy Institute.

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