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As the New York City Municipal ID program prepares to begin January 1, 2015, the Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs along with the Center for Community and Ethnic Media (CCEM) held a press conference at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism for ethnic media groups to help immigrants to feel comfortable getting the id regardless of their legal status.

Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, from the Mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs ensured that the application for the municipal id doesn’t ask for U.S. citizenship status or any other information regarding their legal background, similar to getting a library card- proof of identity, picture id (i.e. a passport), and proof of address, are all that’s needed to apply.

The bill which was signed in July 2014, will begin its official campaign the beginning of 2015 when the program is launched. There will be several centers in all five boroughs and mobile units for the New York residents looking to get the photo identification card. In New York City, 50 percent of residents don’t have driver’s licenses so these are an alternative for being identified when needed.

They’re also encouraging youth as young as 14-years-old, elderly, and homeless individuals to get this card, but all NYC residents can receive one for free the first year. These identification cards are beneficial to all five boroughs, and exclude being used as id needed for federal or state regulated buildings and airports.

As for those seeking employment at the new centers they encourage those interested to apply on the HRA website.

Besides the Municipal ID cards the press conference focused on preventing money scams in the community also, reiterating that the id cards will be free the first year to those who sign up.  People shouldn’t be paying anyone for a card, and if  its lost they should do a police report for it immediately. Other scams include Green Dot MoneyPak Scam, Utility Company Scam, and Internal Revenue Services (IRS) scam.

People who try to scam individuals out of their money use immigration status as a fear tactic insuring that the money is paid, but the NYPD recommend to call 911 and complete a police report immediately.

They also encourage you protect yourself by being suspicious of such calls, never give out personal or financial information over the phone, wire money to someone you don’t know, or give the access number on a Green Dot MoneyPak card. For more information on these scams go to the crime prevention website.

You can also get more information about the Municipal ID card by calling 311.

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