Malliotakis, De Blasio Duke It Out Over IDNYC Records


While Assemblywoman Nicole spokesperson (Bay Ridge, Staten Island) hailed yesterday’s state appellate court decision to uphold a temporary restraining order on destroying any personal data of those that applied for the city’s municipal identification program (IDNYC), the de Blasio administration said it remained confident it could keep the personal data private.

The program began early last year, and was aimed towards giving the city’s estimated half million undocumented immigrants access to social and educational services as well as providing official documentation for such things as opening bank accounts. Fears have increased among immigrants and their advocates, however, that President-elect Donald Trump could utilize the data in making good on his campaign pledge to deport undocumented immigrants.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

“The Mayor is absolutely committed to protecting the security of our data. As we continue to review all of our options, we are confident that we can keep IDNYC data private,” said de Blasio spokesperson Rosemary Boeglin.

Malliotakis and her fellow Republican Assembly colleague, Ron Castorina (Staten Island) filed the lawsuit asking for a restraining order after they learned of a clause that would allow the city to destroy this month the personal data of the estimated 900,000 people who signed up for IDNYC if an anti-immigrant administration came to power in Washington.

The two lawmakers argued that such city records should not be destroyed and documents provided to the city to obtain a government-issued identification card, whether by citizens, legal residents or illegal immigrants, should be retained.  State government transparency laws require that government programs, including identification programs similar to state drivers licenses, be archived and subject to reasonable inspection by members of the public, they argued.

And the appellate court upheld the state supreme court ruling for the restraining order from having any data destroyed.

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Today was an important victory.  And not just for us, but for the people of this city who treasure the values of public safety, government transparency, and the rule of law,” said Malliotakis and Castorina in a joint statement. ” The mayoral administration is not entitled to enact statutes that circumvent the Freedom of Information Law, and should not be able to pick and choose which laws it wishes to follow according to the political affiliation of whoever might occupy the White House.  We strongly believe that the court will find itself in agreement with us, and we look forward to continuing our fight until a final ruling has been made.”

But de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito countered the court decision by announcing a few hours after its decision that IDNYC will be transitioning to a policy that does not involve the retention of cardholders’ personal background documents.

“During this transition, New Yorkers are encouraged to continue to call 311 and make an appointment to begin the pre-application process that remains in place. We expect to begin processing complete applications under the new policy in January,” they said in a joint statement.

New York City is one of 39 cities across the nation that have passed “Sanctuary City” ordinances. A sanctuary city is one that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally.

Trump pledged during his campaign that he would consider withholding federal funding to sanctuary cities that refused to comply with federal laws involving undocumented immigrants.