By Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that about 400,000 people have obtained New York City’s municipal ID card since the program was rolled out six months ago - including immigrants lacking legal documentation.

The card is especially useful for the elderly, homeless and some immigrants who now have free access to many of New York’s cultural institutions.

“The unmatched success of this program in just the first six months is a testament to New York City’s values of inclusivity and equality, and our continued commitment to ensuring all residents feel respected, recognized and welcome to build a life here,” the mayor said at a news conference at the American Museum of Natural History.

The card, dubbed IDNYC, is aimed at those who do not currently have government-issued identification, although any New Yorker can get a card and reap its benefits. Other discounts around the city are also available with the card.

De Blasio said the ID promotes a powerful message - that New York is “a city for everyone.”

He was joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who noted that fear is a key factor keeping immigrants from signing up for the ID card. But she said anyone coming forward to obtain one will not be asked about their status.

Mark-Viverito said it’s an innovative way for New York to build on its history of “supporting newcomers.”

More than 30,000 memberships have been redeemed at museums and other cultural institutions since the program’s launch.

In June, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon applied for a card of his own, saying it would make him “a real New Yorker.”

More than 50,000 cardholders also have chosen to participate in an organ donor program when applying for the card.

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