The New York City Council’s Committee on Immigration will hold public hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to provide municipal identity cards for undocumented foreigners.
“During this process there will be audiences so that the community can speak about the need for that document. I have great faith in what we’re going to learn in that process and what we’ll gain by it,” committee chair Carlos Menchaca told Efe.
Menchaca, who last November became the first councilor of Mexican origin to be elected in New York, said that for the present work is being done to draft the bill and that the opinions the councilors will be presented with in the hearings will be important in structuring it.
On Tuesday he held a press conference attended by pro-immigrant activists from different groups who said they were satisfied with De Blasio’s proposal, “which is taking immigrants seriously.”
According to the broad coalition, the Big Apple’s first Democratic mayor in two decades has shown respect for the dignity of the immigrant community.
During the press conference, which was held in a room jammed with Latino and English-speaking media representatives, transsexuals also made their voices heard about the fear they have of going out on the street and being arrested by the police without an identity card that corresponds to their gender.
De Blasio made the announcement regarding the identity cards for all New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants, on Monday during his first State of the City address.
In 2007, then-Councilman Hiram Monserrate presented a bill to provide identity cards to undocumented foreigners, but there was no public willingness to consider or evaluate it at that time.
Menchaca emphasized that now “it’s different” because there is a new City Council with a progressive agenda, a reference to the platform on which De Blasio won the election.
“This is a crucial moment for immigrants, but our work is not finished,” said Steve Choi, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, adding that “we must have an identity document that will be accepted by the police.”