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New York launches largest municipal ID card program in U.S.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says for some residents the new IDNYC will be the "key to a fuller life." (Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)

For card-carrying residents of New York City, membership has its privileges.

Matt Flegenheimer reports for the New York Times that the Big Apple on Monday launched the nation’s largest municipal ID card program. The cards are available to all city residents 14 and older. They are expected to make life easier for homeless and undocumented immigrants who can’t obtain other forms of government ID, the article says.  

Flashing the IDNYC card means discounts on prescription drugs, movie and theater tickets and sporting events. The IDs can be used for free visits to 33 cultural institutions such as zoos and museums and to check out library books. Some banks will accept them as identification to open accounts, the Times reports.

Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the effort as a “gateway to city services” that strengthens “equality, opportunity and diversity.” The program is part of a series of immigration initiatives spearheaded by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Flegenheimer reports.

A day after the rollout, the city touted high demand for the cards, which are free in 2015 but may eventually require a fee. The program is modeled after similar ones in New Haven, San Francisco and other U. S. cities. 

New York Times

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