Common Sense: Secure America

Republican-Conservative Assembly members Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorino are making solid headway in their efforts to stop New York City from destroying data used to issue Identification cards under the city’s IDNYC program.

In the majority of cases, the cards are issued to undocumented aliens who then can use them as a form of official government ID. State Supreme Court Judge Philip Minardo barred the city from destroying the documents at least until he can hold a hearing in his courtroom on January 5.  Furthermore he encouraged the mayor and City Council Speaker Viverito to appear in person to explain and offer answers.

The assemblymembers maintain that destroying the collected data could enhance the ability of a terrorist or other criminal to evade authorities as well as reduce the ability of financial institutions to detect and prevent fraud. Their argument is not based on the legality of issuing the cards but rather on the destruction of the data used to create the individual card.

Castorino made the point that New York City was applying pressure to banks to accept the ID card. Many at the outset questioned the increased dangers of fraud when accepting this form of identification. With the destruction of all records utilized to create the ID, the danger is significantly magnified.

He also makes the point that financial institutions such as large commercial banks function well beyond the borders of New York City. Thus the potential effect of fraud could affect many Americans who had no role in the creation of the city’s program.

He notes that if it were simply a benefit program that was restricted to New York City government programs or organizations like museums, it was the city’s right although both he and Assemblymember Malliotakis still considered it ill-advised.

In terms of potential terrorism and other criminal activity, Assemblymember Malliotakis noted that a number of individuals who had been issued the cards have been arrested or are being sought by law enforcement on a variety of crimes (not terrorism to this point). She argues that the destruction of any information that could lead to an arrest or assist in a prosecution is inappropriate.

Americans would not expect information they provide to create driver’s licenses or other official government ID to be destroyed after it was collected. Many would like this to happen, feeling that the government is too intrusive, but understand this is not going to occur. And as much as I can understand why an undocumented alien would also want all government-collected records also to be destroyed, it seems fairly evident to me that this should not be happening.

Castorino and Malliotakis were elected to the State Assembly to represent and protect their constituents as well as the citizens of the state. They have articulated and acted upon what they discovered to be a serious flaw in a city policy.

The mayor and council speaker, instead of fighting them at every avenue, should do a better job at assessing their concerns and making appropriate changes. In this case, it would simply be to keep the data.

The city government is clearly reacting to the election of Donald Trump by its line-in-the-sand battle against Castorino and Malliotakis. This is sad on many accounts.

For one, President-elect Trump’s views on illegal immigration were heavily aired during the campaign. His victory can in part be attributed to his expression of concern and his declaration that he will take action. Additionally the whole sanctuary city argument is predicated on a local government taking action on what historically as well as legally has been an area that the federal government oversees.

New York City has overstepped and we are fortunate that Assemblymembers Malliotakis and Castorino will not allow its officials to get away with it.

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