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New NYC program to provide benefits, protection to immigrants

Earlier this month, the City of New York implemented a new immigration program which has as one of its purposes helping undocumented immigrants. The program, known as IDNYC, involves the issuance of an identification card which is technically available to all New York residents in any of the five boroughs, but is of particular benefit to immigrants who don't have other forms of identification.

Among other things, the card will help prevent the arrest of immigrants who are not able to present proof of their identity in any other way. The card can be used for prescription drug discounts, as identification for opening bank and credit union accounts, as a library card, and for enrolling in memberships at various cultural institutions. 

Some criticisms have been leveled against the program, including concerns over the vagueness of the standards for evaluating an applicant's proof of identity as well as the fact that the program will involve setting up a database of undocumented immigrants who could thereby be put at greater risk of being deported.

According to the city, though, the concern over deportation is overblown since there are procedures and rules in place to avoid the problem. Among them: the fact that applicants for the ID are not to be asked about their immigration status.

The program is certainly a positive one for all immigrants, and can potentially even serve as an indirect reminder that all immigrants still have legal rights under the law, regardless of their immigration status. Hopefully the new program helps remind more New Yorkers of this important fact. 

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