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Staten Island Lawmakers Aim to Save Records for ID Cards in NYC

Two Republican Assembly members are in the process of suing Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop him from purging the records of individuals who signed up for municipal ID cards that were offered with a blind eye to immigration status.

While the suit was under consideration by the court over the past month, a state judge temporarily barred the city from being able to destroy the records. This is a challenge to the current provision which gives de Blasio the power to delete the database.

Assemb. Ron Castorina Jr., who showed up at City Hall on Tuesday with his co-plaintiff, Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis, said, “What the mayor is doing here is essentially making himself the savior of undocumented people, and it’s just ridiculous.”

Both of these lawmakers are not in favor to anyone receiving an ID card illegally and are therefore opposed to the IDNYC program altogether.

So far, over 900,000 individuals have signed up for the ID cards. However, the goal was intended to be much higher than that. By offering perks and benefits such as free museum admissions, the hope was that all New Yorkers would apply so that the cards didn’t become a symbol for immigration status.

De Blasio’s spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin stated, “We’re absolutely confident that the law is on our side and that guarding these records is the right move to protect New Yorkers’ privacy and keep our communities safe.”

The suit that was filed last month is claiming that city officials are overstepping their legal authority and violating state open-records laws.

Ravi Batra, a lawyer currently working on the challenge, mentioned that the deletion of the records could cause a significant threat in terms of terrorism risk. According to Batra, if the records are destroyed, it could allow a terrorist to acquire a government-issued ID card fraudulently, without the ability to do an audit on the program.

Though he currently knows of no such instances, he went on to say, “We don’t know, but the fact that there’s a gaping hole that a Mack truck could go through is enough to frighten you.”

Boeglin stated that the program implements “very stringent security standards” which were developed by the NYPD. This ID will not be an acceptable form of identification for the purpose of boarding a plane or renting a vehicle, she said.

Aside from all this, on Tuesday the city announced that the program would continue to be free of charge and that they would no longer keep applicants’ proof of identity documentation.

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