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IDNYC Cards May Prompt Targeting by ICE, Border Patrol


Concerns about targeting based on New York City identification cards have been reinforced after two grandparents were apprehended and detained at Fort Drum on July 4, 2018. The IDNYC cards both carried could have prompted inquiries into their immigration status and might have been the trigger for negative actions by border patrol agents at the military base. The incident highlights the need to resolve immigration issues with the assistance of an experienced New York immigration lawyer.

The IDNYC Program

New York City issues identification cards for individuals who cannot obtain government-issued IDs through the normal channels. This can allow these New York residents to access library services and open bank accounts, providing them with an added sense of security in their everyday lives. The protection afforded by the IDNYC program, however, may be undermined by the apparent tendency of immigration officials to view these IDs as suspect and to demand further identification from those who present them to border patrol and other officials.

Apparent Targeting by Immigration Officials

Concepcion and Margarito Silva went to Fort Drum on Independence Day to visit their son-in-law, who serves as a sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army. They were stopped at the entrance to the base and presented their IDNYC cards. Border patrol personnel questioned the IDNYC cards and asked for further identification. When the Silvas could not produce any further identification, they were detained by the U.S. Border Patrol and moved to a facility more than a hundred miles away from the military base.

A Previous Incident Sparks Concern

A similar incident had occurred just one month earlier at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. Pablo Villavecencio-Calderon was delivering pizza to patrons on the base when he was stopped and detained by federal authorities after presenting his IDNYC card. In both cases, the U.S. Border Patrol rejected the IDNYC cards as adequate identification and continued to pursue their questioning of the individuals. All three were undocumented immigrants who have lived in this country for a number of years and have built lives in the U.S.

These cases indicate that the protections offered by the IDNYC card may not be sufficient to prevent adverse actions from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Border Patrol agents. Working with a New York immigration lawyer can offer added help in resolving immigration issues with documentation and achieving the right to remain in the U.S. legally. At Pozo Goldstein, we can provide you with an experienced and talented New York immigration lawyer with the skill and expertise needed to resolve your case quickly. Call us today at 212-201-9031 to schedule a free consultation in our office. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your family.