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Mayor announces new incentive for securing municipal ID cards

Unlike many other locations in the U.S., New York City is a year-round tourist destination. In other words, the allure of the world-renowned performing arts centers, concert halls, zoos, botanical gardens and, of course, museums is so great that many people are willing to brave less than ideal weather conditions to see all that the city has to offer.

Interestingly, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new program yesterday that will provide the city's undocumented immigrants with the chance to see these same cultural landmarks free of charge provided they enroll in the new municipal ID program.

Created by legislation signed by the mayor back in July, the municipal ID program will officially launch on January 1, 2015, and be open to all residents of the city's five boroughs able to provide proof of identity (foreign birth certificate, driver's license, etc) and satisfy certain residency requirements.

The ID cards, available free of charge during the first year of the program, will feature both a picture and list a person's vital information, such as their name, address, and date of birth (along with an expiration date).

The thought is that these municipal IDs will be of great assistance to the city's rather sizeable undocumented immigrant population, who should theoretically encounter less difficulty performing the tasks that many people otherwise take for granted with the IDs, including signing leases, opening a bank account and accessing city services.

As mentioned earlier, the mayor, working in conjunction with the Cultural Institutions Group, has devised a program promising that anyone who secures a municipal ID anytime from January 2015 through December 31, 2015 will get a one-year pass -- equivalent to a standard family or individual membership -- to 33 of New York City's top landmarks.

This one-year pass, which promises free admission and discounts, includes everything from the Bronx Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the New York City Ballet and Carnegie Hall.

"The municipal ID is a powerful tool to bring more New Yorkers out of the shadows and into the mainstream," said de Blasio. "It is now also a key that opens the door for hundreds of thousands of more New Yorkers to our city's premier assets in culture, science and entertainment."

It will indeed be interesting to see how many undocumented immigrants here in New York secure the ID cards come January 1.

If you have questions about U.S. immigration law -- citizenship, employment visas, criminal defense, family immigration -- consider speaking with an experienced attorney who can explain both the law and your options.

Sources: Business Insider, "New York offers illegal immigrants zoo trips, museum tours with ID cards," Laila Kearney, Sept. 18, 2014; Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Mayor de Blasio announces NYC municipal ID to give access to 1-year free memberships at 33 of the city's most acclaimed cultural institutions," Sept. 18, 2014

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