Wary of Trump Immigration Threat, NY May Erase ID Card Data

Deepti Hajela and Jennifer Peltz, AP, November 16, 2016

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.

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{snip} 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.

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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.

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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.

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