Department Of Homeland Security Error Made The Names Of Detained Minors Available To Public
A “lapse in policy” led the Department Of Homeland Security to accidentally release information about children held in immigration custody, the Los Angeles Times reports.
While it’s normal for DHS to catalog undocumented minors, the names of the children were mistakenly included in a public database that allowed people to track the custody of suspected criminal immigrants. The ages of the minors ranged from teenagers to children as young as 3 years old, putting these vulnerable minors at “risk of human trafficking and other crimes,” Bryan Johnson, an immigration attorney from Long Island, told the Los Angeles Times.
In an attempt to minimize the potential public relations disaster, acting Homeland Security press secretary Gillian M. Christensen released a statement claiming that the Department’s policy “is and remains to protect the information of minors in our custody.” Christensen added that the release of the information was due to a mistake in the search filters.
This latest blunder comes only a few days after NBC reported that the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement are both understaffed and overworked. As a result, the department employees often lack the proper training and are often overburdened with caseloads. Factors like these could lead to vulnerabilities in the departments, making them prone to accidents like releasing the names of undocumented minors to the public despite their policy not to.