In the days after Donald Trump won November’s presidential election, immigration and civil liberties advocates began assessing how the new president might carry out his promises to create a registry of Muslims and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Almost immediately, it became clear the Trump administration would need data, and a lot of it, in order to not only peg people’s religious affiliation and immigration status but also allow federal agents to verify their identities and track their whereabouts. Information that could be used for such purposes is collected and stored by a variety of state agencies that issue driver’s licenses, dispense public assistance, and enforce laws.
Just three days after the election, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio made headlines by proposing a plan to keep data out of Trump’s hands by deleting information contained in a database of municipal ID cards that had been marketed to undocumented immigrants in the city.
Now, in the first weeks of the Trump’s presidency, the battle over the federal government’s access to locally held data has gone national.
In Washington state, The Verge has learned, Democratic governor Jay Inslee has directed members of his policy and legal staff to work with a handful of state agencies to identify data that could be utilized by Trump’s deportation officials, and how, if possible, to shield any such information from federal authorities engaging in mass deportation. In California and New York, Democratic lawmakers have proposed legislation to block state…
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