December 9, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces Federal Government Has Agreed Not to Collect Undocumented Identification as Part of Federal Vaccination Program

TOP Video, Audio, & Rush Transcript: Governor...

Agreement Follows Letter from Governor Cuomo and 52 Organizations Urging Support for Underserved Communities and Protection for Undocumented Immigrants in Federal Vaccine Distribution Program

Governor Cuomo: "If undocumented people don't get vaccinated it compromises their health and it compromises the whole program. Again, the program only works if you hit a critical mass of the population."

Cuomo: "We raised this point again, we did letters, I did speeches, spoken out publicly, and HHS has agreed. CDC specifically has agreed that the State will not send individual data identifying a person in a way that could be used to document citizenship."

Cuomo: "We insisted on that in the what's called the data use agreement, and CDC agreed. So that is a better vaccination program for this country and for this state. It took a lot of work but I want to congratulate all the advocates and people who stepped up and spoke up because it was a good service."

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, at the urging of himself and 52 other organizations, the federal government has finally agreed to not collect any identifiable information from undocumented individuals as part of the federal vaccination distribution program. The federal government's original plan required states to execute a data use agreement which included providing identification data that could be shared with multiple federal agencies, including immigration agencies, which could have dissuaded undocumented immigrants from taking the vaccine. As part of this, the CDC was requesting information such as name, address and unique ID for vaccine recipients. This identification could have included social security, passport or driver's license numbers.

 

Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York sought and secured agreement from CDC to amend these requirements to ensure New York will not transmit any data that could be used to identify the immigration status of any individual. This includes, but is not limited to, name and address. Any data shared will be done so in accordance with New York's robust laws protecting immigration status, and include only aggregated demographic data and dates of vaccine administration and doses.  The CDC also agreed that use and access to any data shared from New York will not be shared with any other agency or entity for purposes not related to public health.

 

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

 

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

 

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

 

We do have good news. We waged a similar effort on the rules for vaccinations for undocumented people. The way the federal government constructed the program - basically they wanted the states to collect Social Security numbers, passport numbers or driver's license numbers for anybody vaccinated. These are all bells for people who are undocumented, alarm bells, and it sounded like you were trying to use the vaccination to identify undocumented people. We have gone through this with the federal government at length with the Trusted Traveler Program previously.

 

If undocumented people don't get vaccinated it compromises their health and it compromises the whole program. Again, the program only works if you hit a critical mass of the population. If you say, well the undocumenteds we're going to exclude practically because they won't come in and participate, you have 50 percent of the population that's skeptical, we're not going to reach out to the Black, Latino and poor communities, it's never going to be a success. So we raised this point again, we did letters, I did speeches, spoken out publicly, and HHS has agreed. CDC specifically, has agreed that the State will not send individual data identifying a person in a way that could be used to document citizenship, et cetera.

 

We insisted on that in the what's called the data use agreement, and CDC agreed. So that is a better vaccination program for this country and for this state. It took a lot of work but I want to congratulate all the advocates and people who stepped up and spoke up because it was a good service.

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