A bill signed on Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio will make New York the country’s largest city to offer a municipal ID card to all residents—including undocumented immigrants. The cards will make carriers eligible to use city services, like lending libraries, but the city is negotiating with banks to help holders access financial services, too.
Over the past eight years, as immigration reform has stalled repeatedly in Congress, similar ID programs have passed in several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York’s city council passed its bill last month, after House Republicans declared the latest reform effort dead. Some of the same groups behind the New York City bill are backing a more ambitious effort to pass a statewide bill under which undocumented immigrants could be declared citizens of New York State—an effort that may be quixotic, but one that comes just as President Obama has signaled he plans to make greater use of his authority to make immigration changes without Congress at a federal level.