Bay Ridge

Malliotakis wins round in IDNYC court battle

Appellate Division rules city cannot destroy records just yet

December 12, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymembers Ron Castorina and Nicole Malliotakis are fighting the de Blasio Administration. Photo courtesy of Malliotakis’ office
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A tense legal battle between two Republican state assemblymembers and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Democratic administration over the fate of records containing personal information of New Yorkers with IDNYC cards is heating up as a lawsuit moves through the courts.

Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis (R-C- Bay Ridge-Staten Island) and Ron Castorina (R-C-Staten Island) filed a lawsuit to prevent New York City from destroying personal records acquired through the application process for the IDNYC municipal identification card program.

The IDNYC cards are available to all New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants.

The two lawmakers won a victory on Dec. 7 when the Appellate Division upheld a temporary restraining order on the city to prevent the records from being destroyed, at least for the time being.

Malliotakis and Castorina argue that the records of applicants should be stored for public safety purposes. But the de Blasio administration has ordered agencies to destroy the records to protect the privacy of card holders.

The move was made following the election of Donald Trump, who has vowed to deport undocumented immigrants.

The Human Resources Administration (HRA) is the city agency responsible for administering the IDNYC municipal identification program.

Castorina and his co-counsel Jeffrey Alfano successfully argued in court to keep a temporary restraining order in place. 

Following the ruling, Malliotakis and Castorina issued a joint statement applauding the decision.

“The mayoral administration is not entitled to enact statutes that circumvent the Freedom of Information Law, and should not be able to pick and choose which laws it wishes to follow according to the political affiliation of whoever might occupy the White House. We strongly believe that the court will find itself in agreement with us, and we look forward to continuing our fight until a final ruling has been made,” the statement read.

The lawmakers argue that allowing the records to be destroyed would violate New York State’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

“It’s ironic that after all the talk of ‘transparency’ during the 2013 campaign season, we have to ask a court to prevent a government agency from destroying its records. It is unconscionable that the city of New York would distribute nearly 900,000 identification cards, then destroy all the documents applicants used to apply for those cards. This data could be helpful in the future to investigate a crime perpetrated with the use of an IDNYC card,” Malliotakis said.   

Mayor de Blasio is standing his ground in the legal battle. At a recent press conference, the mayor defended his policy.

“If you look at the original legislation, which is the law of this city, it was quite clear that we’re not going to allow ourselves to be in a situation where those records would be turned over to the federal government,” the Staten Island Advance quoted de Blasio as saying.

“The whole idea of IDNYC was to give people an opportunity in this city to live a better life for themselves and their families, to have a deeper connection to the city and the city government. But the reason people were willing to trust us was we made very clear that there would never be a situation where it would lead to their deportation. And we’re going to keep that pledge and it’s also part of our law,” de Blasio stated, according to the Advance.


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