New York City wants to stop saving the information found in the records of people who apply for its special city identification card. Why? President-elect Donald Trump.
The “IDNYC” program is a municipal photo ID that’s available for anyone who maintains residence in the city. It was started by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. The main purpose of the program is to provide a photo ID for those lacking the documents or opportunity to get one from the state or federal government, such as undocumented immigrants or the homeless. There are also cultural benefits, such as free or discounted membership at a variety of museums.
At the time the program was started, former New York Mayor and future Trump stan Rudolph GIuliani criticized it, saying it would set undocumented immigrants apart rather than its stated purpose of giving them better access to city services and the benefits of a government ID.
“All this will do is actually going to hurt illegal immigrants,” Giuliani said during a 2014 appearance on Fox News. “He’s going to point them out as exceptions.”
Since then, 900,000 New Yorkers—many of whom are obviously not undocumented—have signed up for the ID.
Few people foresaw the rise of Trump when the program started in 2014, but the architects of the program did foresee xenophobia possibly making them a target and using the data for deporting undocumented cardholders. So they built a provision into the law that would allow the city to delete all of their saved data on cardholders by December 31 of every year, if necessary. The “data” consists of scanned material provided to the city to prove residency, such as bills or passports provided by cardholders. The president-elect hasn’t given any sign that he’s specifically coming after it, but given the awful things he’s said about deporting undocumented immigrants, it’s probably better to play it safe.
Unfortunately, a lawsuit by two Staten Island Republican state legislators has prevented the city from disposing of the data. The politicians argue that it should be available under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. That suit goes to an appeals court on Dec. 21.
In the meantime, the city announced today it will no longer save this information going forward, so future applicants won’t have any data to turn over. Nothing to see here, Trump.