This undated image provided by New York City Hall shows a sample ID card issued by the city. Advocates of last year’s municipal ID card program said it would help people living in the country illegally venture out of the shadows. Now some fear it could instead expose them to deportation. Since Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, the city is considering destroying the cardholders’ personal records. (New York City Hall via AP)
New York City may erase ID card data to protect illegal immigrants
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, Conn., 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.READ MORE