On Monday, January 12, New York City officially introduced the country’s largest municipal identification program, issuing ID cards to residents regardless of immigration status. This is a welcome measure for undocumented immigrants, who without government-issued ID cards, have found it difficult to obtain access to city services and institutions, or to carry out many routine activities such as opening a bank account, filling prescriptions, and renting an apartment. The ID card can also be used as a library card.
Speaking from the White House last night, President Barack Obama announced a series of significant executive actions his administration will take to improve the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants and documented immigrants inside the United States. In addition, the White House released details about specific programs and changes in immigration procedure and law that will benefit these individuals further, which were not included in the President’s fifteen-minute speech. We discuss these complex changes below.