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'We Have Your Back,' De Blasio Promises Undocumented Immigrants

By Jeff Mays | November 11, 2016 11:36am | Updated on November 12, 2016 5:23pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City will protect its population of undocumented immigrants from the federal government if necessary following Donald Trump's election as president, vowing not to turn over data from its IDNYC program.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City will protect its population of undocumented immigrants from the federal government if necessary following Donald Trump's election as president, vowing not to turn over data from its IDNYC program.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

CITY HALL — Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City will protect its population of undocumented immigrants from the federal government if necessary following Donald Trump's election as president — vowing not to turn over data from its IDNYC program to the feds.

"I want everyone in New York City to know that we are standing by our values and we will fight to protect our values," de Blasio said.

Trump has made several campaign promises around immigration, including building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, imposing financial penalties on sanctuary cities that shelter undocumented immigrants, and banning Muslims from entering the United States.

"We have your back," de Blasio said when asked what he would tell New York City's Muslim residents.

Asked whether the city would turn over data from its wildly popular IDNYC program, which provides identification cards to city residents regardless of their immigration status, the mayor said no, adding that he would "absolutely" protect the data. He encouraged more residents to apply for the card.

"We are not going to sacrifice half a million people who live among us and are part of our community," said de Blasio.

►READ MORE: How a Trump Presidency Will Affect New York City

The IDNYC program had issued identification to over 863,000 New Yorkers as of August. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the program to provide identification for people for whom it is difficult to get identification such as undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and transgender individuals.

"All of this has to play out but I want New Yorkers to know we have a lot of tools at our disposal and we're going to use them. We're not going to take anything lying down, that's the central point. Anything we see as a threat to New Yorkers we will confront," said the mayor.

Trump vowed last month to cut off federal funding to "sanctuary" cities like New York if local enforcement allow undocumented immigrants access to social services without having to reveal their status, or otherwise refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

De Blasio, who said his team has put a call into Trump to schedule a phone conversation, said it's too early to tell if Trump will follow through on some of his most controversial policy proposals.

"It's a lot easier to talk about some of the things that he offered in his platform than to actually achieve them," said the mayor.

"Donald Trump's not changing the Constitution. He can change some federal laws but the constitution protects a lot of the rights and powers of localities," the mayor added.

Asked whether he was being naïve or taking the potential threats to New York City posed by a Trump presidency lightly, de Blasio said that was not the case.

"It is fair to say we have a real threat here," de Blasio said of a Trump presidency. "No one should minimize that threat."