Jorge Escamilla, originally from El Salvador and living in Newburgh for the last 22 years, was among the first city residents to receive a municipal ID card.
With Tuesday's rollout, Newburgh became the fifth Hudson Valley municipality to offer the IDs.
Just after getting the photo ID card, still warm from the printing machine, Escamilla told Spectrum News the first thing he plans to use his ID for is opening a bank account, a simple yet important task he has not been able to do before.
"I need to get the account," he said in Spanish, "and then I'll probably look for other jobs I could not get before."
Others who had just received their IDs said they plan to use the IDs to avoid hassles when picking up children from school, identify themselves at interscholastic events, and to identify themselves to police when asked.
"This is another big win for the City of Newburgh," Mayor Torrance Harvey said during an interview on Tuesday at a packed Newburgh City Hall. "If we keep getting these wins, we'll achieve full victory here in Newburgh."
The council planned rigorously to have the program rolled out within 10 weeks of its approval by the city council, and to lessen the potential for applicants to have run-ins with ICE agents. The latter became a major concern after an episode involving multiple ICE agents at Middletown City Hall.
On Wednesday, April 23, as the first crowd of Middletown residents were in line to apply for municipal IDs, ICE agents tried to detain a man upstairs at City Court, which is connected to City Hall.
Agents then chased the man through the building, leaving a lasting, fearful effect on the applicants. Organizers with immigrant advocacy group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson said the number of daily applications plummeted after the chase through the Middletown's city building.
In Newburgh, the city building is located almost a mile down Broadway from the city's courthouse.
Mayor Harvey said, to his knowledge, that while ICE agents have conducted operations in the courthouse on many occasions, no ICE agents have ever been to City Hall.
"They haven't had a presence in the past," he said, "and, like I said, we don't expect ICE to have a presence here."
Organizers with Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson said that for at least the next month, the group's volunteers will be at City Hall to help with applications, which will be accepted every Tuesday and Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
To be eligible, applicants must be at least 14 years old and be able to prove their residency within the city limits. The cost per ID is $15 for adults, $7 for children and $7 for veterans.