New York City’s efforts to provide access to undocumented immigrants with a local identification card has taken a new twist, thanks to the election of immigration hawk Donald Trump as America’s next president.
Following Trump’s election, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out, saying he was confident the city could protect the personal information of immigrants collected for the IDNYC card, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Whether de Blasio was actually aiming to calm concerns about the identification program, or to instead stoke fears about Trump’s surprise election, the comments showcase how efforts to provide proper identification can become a source of political posturing.
de Blasio, a Democrat, campaigned for Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump and de Blasio have also been engaged in a war of words, with Trump declaring him “the worst mayor in the U.S.”
And while Trump has repeatedly and controversially made comments about deporting millions of illegal immigrants with criminal records, he has not suggested that the IDNYC program could be a source of information for those efforts. Still, de Blasio has vowed to fight if Trump were to attempt to access those records, and even suggested the city could delete the database to prevent the Trump administration from obtaining it.
Federal law allows U.S. cities to issue their own identification cards if they choose, irrespective of immigration or criminal status. The IDNYC card program launched in January of 2015.
While the program is intended for undocumented immigrants to access municipal and private services and facilities, the card is available to anyone. In fact, IDNYC heavily incentivizes adoption of the card by offering discounts on events, goods and memberships.