The Putnam Examiner

Ball’s Take on Illegal Immigrant ID Cards Stirs Controversy

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A past photo of Ball debating on the NY State Senate Chamber.
A past photo of Ball debating on the NY State Senate Chamber.

New York State Sen. and Republican Greg Ball came under fire last week from politicians on the other side of the aisle for a statement he issued about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to provide identification cards to immigrants who enter the country illegally.

Last Wednesday, Ball in a statement said the proposal to provide ID cards to illegal immigrants would bring a threat to New York City and dubbed the plan the “de Blasio Terrorist Empowerment Act.”

“This extreme Mayor’s proposal, joined by efforts in the New York State Senate to provide New York State driver’s licenses to illegals,” part of the statement read,
“will simply provide a mask to those seeking to harm the United States.”

Ball concluded by stating ID cards for illegal immigrants would be a “homeland security nightmare.”

Soon after, multiple political heads and lawmakers condemned Ball’s statement.

Wednesday afternoon, Working Families Party (WFP) Hudson Political Director Ari Kamen issued a statement that read, “Shame on Greg Ball for his deplorable anti-immigrant comments essentially describing the Mayor of New York City as an accomplice to terrorists.  Senator Ball has spent his career vilifying hardworking immigrants who come to America for a better life. The Mayor’s ID proposal is a humane way for society to treat its residents.”

Later that week, the WFP formally endorsed Democrat Justin Wagner who is running for Ball’s senate seat, which it also did when Wagner ran and lost in 2012. Ball has yet to announce his political plans for next election.

In an interview Kamen said the last two years Ball has said “some pretty insane things.”

When talking about the ID card program that New York City would implement, Kamen said similar programs have been effective in other major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. He added that ID cards for undocumented workers have resulted in better relations with law enforcement agencies.

He went on to say the ID cards would allow them to open bank accounts, sign leases, have library cards and other opportunities every American resident should be afforded.

Kamen also said he doesn’t believe issuing the ID cards would be a national security threat.

In a statement, State Sen. Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens who sponsored a proposed bill for drivers’ licenses for immigrants at the state level called Ball’s rhetoric “anti-immigrant” and said the ID cards in the city and drivers’ licenses at the state level would be met with approval from the Department of Homeland Security.

“Lumping these hard-working immigrants in with terrorists is the worst kind of irresponsibility,” Peralta stated.

On Friday, Ball in an interview said he wasn’t surprised by the blowback and didn’t back down.

Ball said on 9-11, 19 of the hijackers had over 300 aliases and identifications by going to states with relaxed ID laws, which is why congress passed the Read ID Act.

“It’s dangerous,” Ball said. “It’s just dangerous.”

When asked if he thought he was expressing anti-immigration, Ball responded that he is pro-immigration, as long as it’s done legally, and wants to secure the border, rather than the government facilitating the flow of undocumented workers.

Ball said, “It’s patently unfair to the 7 million legal immigrants, with an “L”, waiting in line right now to get into this country legally.”

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