Malliotakis IDNYC case heads to court
Democratic lawyer Ravi Batra joins legal team
As the lawsuit filed by Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina against the city over the de Blasio administration’s IDNYC program was set to head to back to court on Jan. 5, the plaintiffs unveiled new legal firepower in their case.
Malliotakis, Castorina and their lawyer Jeffrey Alfano announced on the steps of City Hall on Jan. 3 that prominent attorney Ravi Batra had agreed to join their case on a pro bono basis.
Malliotakis and Castorina, who are both Republicans, are suing to prevent the de Blasio Administration from purging government documents acquired through the IDNYC application process.
The identification cards are available to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
The city is seeking to destroy application records to protect applicants from being hunted by immigration officials.
The case is scheduled for a hearing in New York state Supreme Court on Staten Island on Thursday. Both Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) and Castorina (R-Staten Island) represent parts of that borough. The plaintiffs had previously won a temporary restraining order to stop the city, at least temporarily, from destroying IDNYC records.
Malliotakis said the fact that Batra, a Democratic Party loyalist, has joined the legal team is proof of the bipartisan nature of the lawsuit.
“Ravi is very active in the Democratic Party, as many people know. Our lawsuit goes across party lines and demonstrates that the city is wrong to want to destroy these records,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“Though I’m a registered Democrat, I am proud to join this team,” Batra said in a statement. “We are New Yorkers and Americans first, and being compassionate, providing sanctuary and enhancing public safety and national security are core bipartisan goals.”
The plaintiffs are charging that the city’s plan to destroy records violates New York state’s Freedom of Information laws.
Castorina said the idea of destroying public records is also a threat to public safety. “We must unite as New Yorkers from all backgrounds and political parties to fight for the security of our citizenry, no matter their immigration status, and to protect the integrity of financial services here in New York and across the country,” he said.
The mayor has defended the plans to wipe out records of IDNYC applicants on the grounds that it will protect their privacy and safeguard card holders from being targeted by the federal government.
“If you look at the original legislation, which is the law of this city, it was quite clear that we were not going to allow ourselves to be in a situation where those records are turned over to the federal government,” DNAinfo quoted Mayor Bill de Blasio as saying at a press conference last month.
Malliotakis told the Eagle that she did not expect a quick ruling by the judge. “The judge will study all of the evidence presented and will probably render a decision in a few months,” she said.