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City Ordered to Preserve IDNYC Data Until Court Hearing Next Month

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 22, 2016 2:38pm
 A judge ruled to temporarily halt the deletion of documents used to obtain an IDNYC card until a court hearing next month.
A judge ruled to temporarily halt the deletion of documents used to obtain an IDNYC card until a court hearing next month.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

STATEN ISLAND — A judge has ordered the city not to destroy documents gathered from all IDNYC applicants — after Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to do so to shield undocumented New Yorkers from the federal government.

Judge Philip Minardo ordered a temporary halt on erasing the information until a Jan. 5 hearing concerning a lawsuit filed by Assembly members Ron Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis, who are attempting to force the city to retain it.

Mayor Bill de Blasio previously said he would delete the data by the end of the year to help protect undocumented immigrants.

De Blasio had promised to purge the documents rather than hand them over to the federal government. He was reacting to the election of Donald Trump, who has vowed to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants.

"The safety and security of our citizenry and the integrity of our banking and financial services here in New York, especially after 9/11, is paramount to any political agenda perpetrated by the mayor and his administration," said Castorina in a statement.

"Today's win ensures that safety and security, going forward, until at least the hearing date."

Malliotakis and Castorina's lawsuit claims deleting the documents violates Freedom of Information laws. They also said it would create a security risk because it would make it impossible to trace people who use the card.

The city has also announced it would no longer keep a record of any documents used to get the card starting in January 2017.

The decision comes after Minardo ruled the hearing would remain on Staten Island. The city asked for it to be moved to Manhattan because it would be inconvenient for officials to take the ferry.

De Blasio launched the IDNYC program in 2015 to give identification cards to residents such as undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and transgender individuals for whom getting regular ID is difficult.

There have been more than 900,000 applications since it launched.