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Wary of Trump immigration threat, NY may erase ID card data

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    People wait in line to apply for New York Ctiy municipal identification cards on the first day they were available, in the Bronx borough of New York. Advocates said the ID cards would help people living in the country illegally venture out of the shadows. Now some fear it could instead expose them to deportation.

NEW YORK >> When New York City launched the nation’s biggest municipal ID card program last year, advocates said it would help people living in the U.S. illegally to venture out of the shadows.

But since Donald Trump was elected president, city officials are instead fielding questions about whether the cards could put those same people at greater risk of being deported.

The city has vowed to protect cardholders’ personal records and might even delete them using a kind of self-destruct provision that allows for the information to be destroyed at the end of the year. At least one state lawmaker has criticized that idea, saying it could make it impossible to trace people if they have obtained cards fraudulently.

Some immigrants take comfort in the city’s stance, while acknowledging they are still wary.

Alberto Saldivia got his “IDNYC” card this year after spending 15 years in the country without legal authorization.

“It did cause me considerable concern, because they have my information, also the information of my son,” the 53-year-old Mexico native said through an interpreter.

But he felt reassured when Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that the city would “absolutely” safeguard cardholders’ identities. De Blasio, a Democrat, said officials would assess whether to delete the personal records, a provision that was built into the program partly over concerns about the possible election of a Republican president such as Trump, whose campaign promises included a vow to deport millions of people in the U.S. illegally.

Municipal ID programs began in 2007 in New Haven, Connecticut, and have expanded to about 10 cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York’s program is the most ambitious, with more than 800,000 cardholders, many of them U.S. citizens or legal residents.

Officials encouraged everyone in the city to sign up, but the program was aimed at those without other forms of ID, including homeless people and, especially, the estimated 500,000 immigrants living illegally in the city. The ID would help them do such everyday things as cash a check or attend a parent-teacher conference at a public school, advocates said.

The program quickly proved popular, with New Yorkers waiting hours in line and months for appointments to register early on. Pope Francis received a ceremonial one during his visit to the city last year, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the card would make him “a real New Yorker.”

But civil liberties advocates sounded alarms about the city collecting identity documents that immigration authorities or law enforcement could request, with a judge’s approval.

The program’s backers included language that allows for destroying the applicants’ identity and residency information at the end of 2016 if administrators do not move to keep them.

“Protecting it from a possible Republican president was just one of the reasons” for the provision, said City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who wrote the law that created the program.

A critic of the program said deleting the records would only compound concerns about it.

“It’s completely irresponsible to destroy the documentation of people who applied for a government-issued ID card,” said state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican.

She said the proof-of-identity requirements may not be stringent enough to prevent fraud, and deleting the records would leave authorities “no way of knowing who these people are, how they obtained this documentation.”

Some immigrants and their advocates remain hopeful that the IDs won’t backfire. The extent of the program should thwart using it to target immigrants here illegally, since they represent only some of the cardholders, said Javier Valdes of Make the Road New York, an advocacy group that pushed for the program.

Juan Rosas Carrera plans to keep his appointment this weekend to get an IDNYC card, despite a friend’s warning that it could be risky to give authorities his name and address. Rosas Carrera, a Mexican national and construction worker, has been living in the U.S. illegally for 17 years.

Still, he wants an ID card to open a bank account and feels it’s worth the worry.

“I feel safe in New York. I also think that if you don’t have a criminal record, nothing bad will really happen,” said Rosas Carrera, 48. “But I am a bit worried about Trump.”

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  • New York City is a crime nest. Giving out ID cards to illegals is just another foul deed. Then erasing stuff so Trump cannot give the boot to the illegals is even fouler.

  • If the city does this, there should be arrests for violation of federal laws. New York City is not a separate country and Bill de Blasio is not it’s king.

    • Bill DeBlasio is an old Sandinista pink, who with his lovely wife had their honeymoon in Havana. He and the ballerina from the murder capital of the country defying these orders and sanctuary city sanctions might regret that.
      I remember Reagan firing the air traffic controllers.

    • I thought the same thing when reading this. But I live in Honolulu, and it still surprises me how many people have been living here for over 20 years and still can’t speak English. We need to make it our official language.

  • Why do anything to help “illegals”? They are “ILLEGALS” – didn’t anybody notice in the recent articles about how many of these “ILLEGALS” are committing crimes?

  • I’m thinking – okay, so NYC deletes the records of the cardholders. So if one of the cardholders is challenged to prove their card is valid, they will have no way to do so. That would seem to make the id almost useless if challenged.

  • What a mess! All these politicians and government officials/servants that pander to illegals should be arrested for treason. Better yet, deport them to Mexico along with the real illegals, let’s see how well Mexican politicians and citizens of Mexico treat illegals from the USA! haaaaa

  • If NYC’s scheme is given the go ahead, might as well issue software, cameras, card stock, photo printers and laminator machines to all public libraries so the undocumented and those with no means can generate their own IDs. Why not? Such do-it-yourself IDs would have the same backing and legal status as any other with nothing but thin air to validate it.

  • Millions of US Citizens are unemployed. Do we guess this illegal migrants is one of the reasons why? I hope TheDonald does not cave into the illegal migrants protests! Americans 1st! in all phases of Federal Money spent in the US. This is what happens when you let things slide and now we see how hard it is to correct the lax Federal Gov. stance on migration Laws. It’s like a parent spoiling their kids, once you start to give kids what they want it’s very hard to take back. TheDonald needs to dish some TOUGH LOVE. You don’t break US immigration Laws and get rewarded!

  • NY Mayor Bill De Blasio is speaking from both sides of his mouth again,& hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about! or what repercussions New York city could face! The Federal dollars New York gets, is staggering! Like Hawaii,it’s mind boggling!
    Is he willing to Roll the Dice on the backs of it’s citizens? IS Mayor De Blasio wiling to make that sacrifice ,by depriving New York’s LEGAL citizens of much needed federal MONEY,by supporting Illegals?

    This guy has an obligation to it’s citizens first,there is no deviation from this position,it’s his duty!

    So,Let’s see? Was it last year,that he(De Blasio) threw the NYPD under the BUS?Remember that? lol.
    So who do you think the NYPD will most likely support by enforcing the law of the land?

    Yep!…….Like San Francisco Mayor Lee,it’s all Blow Hard and all about VOTES! Socialism fails all the time,maybe some one should tell that to Mayor De Blasio !

  • We’re suppose to be a nation built on a constitution and laws where everyone is treated equally. Now we’re moving to become a nation where laws only apply to some. I think this uneven enforcement will eventually become a slippery slope of either no laws are enforceable and/or we move towards a class system where there are multiple sets of laws that only apply to different classes of people.

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