PHOENIX — An effort to create a city identification card for Phoenix residents for immigrants in the country illegally has lost the support of a key group amid fears that information gathered for the IDs could be turned over to authorities and lead to deportations.
One Phx ID coalition, an alliance of community groups that spearheaded the effort to create the ID cards, withdrew its support this week, The Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2rXjadu ).
The groups’ change of heart came after the election of President Donald Trump. His approach to immigration has led to fears among activists, both in Phoenix and other cities that have ID card programs, that the data gathered to issue the cards could aid in deportations.
Viridiana Hernandez, who leads the coalition, said the group will not support the program unless city leaders create a firm written policy to guarantee cardholder data will not be turned over to federal immigration authorities.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure we’re safe and we don’t want it to be another risk factor,” Hernandez said.
Toni Maccarone, special assistant to Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher, said the city and its vendor that will operate the card program have worked to dispel fears about the retention of cardholder data.
All data will be handled by SF Global, the financial-services company chosen to administer the program, and the city’s proposed contract prohibits the company from using the data for any purpose other than the ID program. But the company could potentially have to release it.
A city spokesman said if the vendor were to receive a subpoena for cardholder data, the vendor would have an opportunity to object to the subpoena. However, if a court were to order production of the data, the vendor would have to comply with the court order.
Paule Cruz Takash, director of business development for SF Global, declined to comment on the details of its data-retention plan for Phoenix, saying many aspects of the company’s agreement with the city must still be finalized.
Phoenix was expected to launch the ID program in February after council members approved the effort last August. The release date was delayed when the state Legislature was in session because lawmakers proposed now-failed bills to block or curtail the effort.
The city does not know when it will start issuing cards through SF Global.
Mayor Greg Stanton, who voted to create the ID card, declined to comment. Several council members who voted for the program did not respond to requests for comment.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com