In a decision that received scant attention outside the greater New York metropolitan area, Staten Island Supreme Court Judge Phil Minardo ruled that city officials can legally destroy personal information – name, age, date of birth – submitted by illegal aliens to acquire an IDNYC card. Judge Minardo’s ruling is the latest in a long string of district court decisions that ignore the law and are intended to thwart President Donald Trump’s intention to enforce immigration law.
|Okay to destroy public records, judge rules.|
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration first issued the cards in January 2015, and approximately one million have been distributed. In addition to giving aliens a form of identification, IDNYC entitles the holder to free admission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, along with discounts at other popular venues. New York City is one of about 15 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., which provides aliens with IDs.
De Blasio’s order to destroy copies of the aliens’ underlying records such as passports, rental agreements and utility bills is an illegal effort to keep them out of the hands of the federal government, if it asks for them. Should de Blasio proceed, the Department of Justice could prosecute him for aiding and abetting aliens and also for the willful destruction of public records, violations of 8 U.S. Code 1324. The DOJ likely has a winnable case against de Blasio. In 2014, when he signed the law that created IDNYC, de Blasio said: “We cannot accept a city where some of our residents are forced to live fearfully in the shadows,” an open confession to illegal harboring.
At various times, de Blasio has labeled Trump a fascist, a racist and an embarrassment, so the mayor’s open defiance of immigration law is unsurprising. De Blasio recently dodged what would have been a 2017 re-election campaign albatross when the New York U.S. Attorney and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office dropped investigations into his pay-to-play fundraising practices. No doubt de Blasio, polling at about 50 percent popularity, views Trump-bashing as a good strategy and essential part of his recently launched campaign.