IDNYC: Strain on Services and an Asset to Asylum Abusers
Every proposal for common-sense immigration control relies on proof of identity, both for showing status and ability to work and for receiving services. A number of states have flouted this basic principle by issuing non-REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, making it more convenient to remain here illegally. However, the current surge in illegal immigrants overwhelming sanctuary cities is highlighting another way that rogue mayors have enabled large-scale fraud and abuse: municipal IDs, in particular New York City’s IDNYC program.
Not to be outdone by New York State (which issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens but requires proof of status for non-driver ID cards), New York City has issued “IDNYC” cards since 2015. These cards, the most prominent municipal ID program in the country, were billed as a “gateway to city services”, but their real function has been making it much easier to violate immigration laws. Because of New York’s “sanctuary” status and generous social programs (the city is required by law to provide shelter to all single adults and families), IDNYC makes life easier for illegals at huge expense to taxpayers.
IDNYC’s problems begin with one of its supposed advantages: ease of access. Illegal aliens in the city are able to get an IDNYC card with just a foreign passport and lease, or a letter from a homeless shelter. As local media gleefully reports, the IDNYC card then allows these arrivals to open bank accounts and cash checks they receive from working illegally without even pretending to have valid asylum claims. This cheerful coverage hides a grim reality: city governments funded by American taxpayers making it as easy as possible for illegal aliens to profit from ignoring American labor laws. As our media and government pretend unlawful, unregulated work is acceptable or even good, economic migrants are noticing and taking advantage.
IDNYC also puts illegals in direct competition with citizens for scarce housing and education funding. The city’s housing market is booming, with severe shortages of available units for needy citizens as inflation makes rents more and more expensive. However, having an IDNYC card lets illegal aliens apply for the Housing Connect affordable housing lottery and Section 8, among many other social programs. IDNYC effectively puts an economic migrant straight off a bus from the border on the same footing as native residents in their housing search, an insult to New Yorkers in the middle of a housing crisis.
The IDNYC program indirectly increases the burden on New York City schools by encouraging aliens to remain within the city and enroll their children locally. FAIR has published a detailed analysis of the considerable cost to educate foreign students without English skills, and New York City anticipates over 1,000 new foreign enrollments from the current migrant wave alone. Because illegal aliens have the right to enroll in local public schools, programs like IDNYC that make specific cities more attractive and “welcoming” to illegals lead to concentrations of students unfamiliar with English in those cities who require far more resources. In addition, IDNYC allows cardholders to take high school equivalency exams regardless of legal status. Unsurprisingly, state and local taxpayers foot the bill for these new demands on the school system.
Thanks to IDNYC, breaking the law comes with plenty of benefits for migrants in New York City. When sanctuary cities make it so easy for illegal aliens to abuse our resources with programs like this, Americans should be aware of what we’re paying for.