A new ID card issued by the city of New York, called IDNYC, has drawn an unexpectedly huge response, as some New Yorkers who already have government-issued identification have joined enormous numbers of illegal immigrants, elderly residents, and even the homeless to clamor for such a card.
In the first month after it was offered, the city received 260,000 requests for appointments. City officials had believed 250,000 to 300,000 applicants for a whole year would be a satisfactory number. Over 30,000 cards have already reached their applicants.
Nisha Agarwal, the city’s commissioner for immigrant affairs, said, “In the lead up to the launch of the card, we heard many advocates say that individuals may be nervous about stepping forward and interacting with the government … to see this kind of response … is remarkable in a positive way and I think has a lot of lessons to teach us.”
Cardholders can attend many of New York City’s famous cultural institutions for free using the cards. Dan Coates, lead organizer at the community organization Make The Road New York, pointed out that the NYPD officially recognizes the card, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History are offering free memberships.
City residents can apply for the cards at library branches and city offices. Applicants must be at least 14-years-old.
Agarwal said, “We want it to sort of be the passport to New York City for everyone … I would be very surprised if we hit eight million in one year, but anything’s possible.”