The names and addresses of more than 6,000 New Haven residents who have applied for a type of identification card available to anyone, including illegal immigrants, will likely remain secret out of fear for their safety.
Anti-illegal immigration activisits had asked the city to identify the cardholders in a public records request. But as the New Haven Register reports, a Freedom of Information Commission official on Wednesday recommended against releasing the cardholders’ names.
"The ID Card program unleashed a level of vitriol and venom aimed at city officials and illegal immigrants that was far beyond mere political disagreement or healthy civic engagement," the hearing officer’s report said, according to The Register. Among menacing e-mails the city received in the months after the card program debuted was this message: "When they show up for an ID card shoot them dead or at least deport them immediately."
The full body of FOI officials is expected to vote on the issue on July 9, but it will likely side with the recommendation.
Dustin Gold, whose Community Watchdog Project backed the records request, told The Register the report doesn’t reflect the intentions of the state lawmakers who created the FOI safety exemption. He told the paper he would take the issue to court if he has to.
Despite the controversy, The Register described the card as a success: "It is viewed in New Haven as a public safety measure that helps incorporate the estimated 15,000 illegal immigrants into the lifeof city," helping them set up bank accounts and access certain city services.