KINGSTON – Recently, the City of Kingston Common Council unanimously passed legislation to create a municipal ID.
The vote follows months of advocacy for the legislation by Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a member-led immigrant rights and social justice organization with offices in Kingston, Middletown, and Poughkeepsie.
The group also successfully advocated for the passage of municipal ID legislation in Poughkeepsie (in July) and Middletown (in November). There are about 25 municipal IDs nationwide, including in New York City. New York City has issued over one million cards to date.
The IDs will be available to all City residents and will be particularly valuable for the City’s most vulnerable community members: undocumented immigrants, as well as the homeless, transgender people, youth, the elderly, the formerly incarcerated, and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.
The municipal ID will help those who currently lack government-issued ID interact with the police, pick their children up from school, fill prescriptions, see a doctor, open bank accounts, and use the library.
All residents (including those who already have government-issued ID) will be encouraged to get a Middletown ID to foster a more united community. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson will work to tie the card to discounts at businesses and other public and private venues in order to help popularize the IDs.
“It’s exciting Kingston is the third Hudson Valley city in which Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has gotten municipal IDs passed this year. We’re looking forward to 2019 when these cities will be implementing their programs, we’ll be passing municipal IDs in more cities, and the discussion about Hudson Valley cities officially recognizing each other’s IDs can continue,” said Jonathan Bix, Executive Director of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.
“While we await further action in Albany on the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Assembly Bill A10273), Mayor Steve Noble, the Kingston Common Council and activists including Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson are stepping up with a local solution to help new immigrant families more fully participate in society and our community. I applaud the compassionate work of advocates and public officials and hope that this action encourages other municipalities to follow and for the State Senate to join the Assembly in making legal identification for all New Yorkers available soon,” said Kevin A. Cahill, Assemblymember (D-Ulster, Dutchess).
“A lot of people will be less afraid and more fully able to be a part of our Kingston community. This is important for immigrants, but also for other residents. For example, transgender residents will now be able to get identification that reflects their gender identity, regardless of their gender designation on previously-issued identity documents. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson will be working with the city to make sure people know about the IDs and how to get them,” said Diana Lopez, Ulster County Organizer of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.