New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city would give undocumented immigrants identity papers to allow them to live more normal lives.
"To all of my fellow New Yorkers who are undocumented, I say: New York City is your home too, and we will not force ANY of our residents to live their lives in the shadows," de Blasio said in a speech at Queens College.
The initiative's aim is to ensure that undocumented residents are able to do things like open bank accounts, sign leases and gain access to basic services.
"We will protect the almost half-million undocumented New Yorkers whose voices too often go unheard," de Blasio said.
New York has an estimated eight million residents, 2.3 million of whom are of Hispanic origin.
De Blasio was elected mayor in November with the massive support of the city's Hispanic and black communities, who responded to his promise to fight to close a growing gap between rich and poor.
He took office January 1, succeeding billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who was mayor for 12 years.