De Blasio wants municipal I.D. cards for undocumented residents in ‘early 2014’

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Bill de Blasio said if elected mayor, he would seek "right away" to create in "early 2014" a municipal identification card for undocumented immigrants in New York City.

De Blasio — the Democratic mayoral nominee who enjoys a forty-point lead over his Republican opponent — made the comment during a press conference on the steps of City Hall where he was joined by supporters, including members from a number of immigrant rights groups. De Blasio said details about how to create the cards and which agency would issue them still needed to be explored "but we have working models" he said, "from other cities" that "have proven to be effective. So, we'd borrow from them."

De Blasio's pledge to have New York City join other cities in issuing municipal I.D. cards was contrasted with the gridlock in Washington, where federal lawmakers have failed to produce comprehensive immigration reform, though both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have long identified the need to address the issue.

Seeking to bolster his bona fides as a national progressive leader, De Blasio criticized Republicans in the House of Representatives for blocking immigration reform.

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De Blasio has branded himself as unapologetic progressive whose main line of attack against his Republican opponent has been to note his ties to the former Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, and association with the Tea Party, which, de Blasio frequently notes, is the group responsible for the federal shutdown in Washington. When asked how much he was willing to work with Republicans to get immigration reform passed, de Blasio said, "If the people chose me, I'll be ready to work with anyone in Washington to achieve things for the city of New York."

Later, he was was asked by a Wall Street Journal reporter if he planned to campaign against Republican House members. De Blasio said, "If the people chose me, I'm going to make sure we have a congress that will help New York City. Now, it's a separate question: is it helping us achieve that goal for a mayor of New York City to campaign against these individuals? That obviously has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

"What we need," he said, "is a new House of Representatives that want to work not only with New York City but with urban America."

The immigrants-rights-themed rally was convened one day after de Blasio's second televised debate with his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota. De Blasio was asked why in last night's debate he said Lhota's television ad warning about a crime spike under a de Blasio administration, as race-baiting.

De Blasio urged people to compare Lhota's ad to the Willie Horton ad "and see what you see," referring to the 1988 ad from Republican George H.W. Bush that highlighted a violent assault committed by a black inmate during a prison furlough.

"You'll see a very similar tone, a negative, incendiary, fear-mongering tone. Yes I said it was race-baiting because it is race-baiting," de Blasio said. "You can see the images in that ad as trying to suggest that people will be less safe and is trying to assign blame as to who will make us less safe. And we don't do that anymore in New York City. That's been rejected."

De Blasio then repeated his claim that the ad is ripped from the "Giuliani playbook," a reference to the former Republican mayor whom Lhota used to work for, and who is unpopular with Democratic voters, particularly progressives and blacks, a key voting bloc for de Blasio.