Make the Road New York and New York Immigration Coalition Help Immigrants Maneuver City ID’s, Reported by The New York Times

Posted on July 11, 2018

The IDs Were Meant to Protect Immigrants. Are They a Liability?

Originally Published in The New York Times on July 10, 2018
Written by Zoe Greenberg

Last week, Concepción Barrios, 49, and Margarito Silva, 59, were detained at Fort Drum in upstate New York while attempting to visit their son, an Army sergeant, on the Fourth of July. The couple, unauthorized immigrants who have been New York residents for more than 20 years, presented their city-issued ID cards at the base’s entry gate. They were told they needed another form of ID. After showing their Mexican passports, security called Border Patrol agents, who ultimately arrested them.

The city ID cards, issued through a program called IDNYC, are only valid with city agencies like the Police Department, and they cannot be used, for example, to board a plane or to purchase alcohol. The cards are not valid identification at federal complexes like Fort Hamilton, even if they sit within city limits. Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights group that is working with the Silva family, is trying to help cardholders navigate those tricky distinctions.

“There is an artificial security that is created by it,” said Betsy Plum, vice president of policy at the New York Immigration Coalition. “That’s really dangerous if it’s then being used outside of its intended purpose.”

Read More