Things That Matter

The Government Accountability Office States That ICE And The FBI Are Using DMV Data To Track Undocumented Immigrants

The FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have reportedly been accessing driver’s license photos for facial recognition searches without license holders’ knowledge, according to The Washington Post. Both agencies have had access to millions of Americans’ photos and all without permission from Congress by tapping into state driver’s license databases. This is all being done with efforts to give the agencies a new source of information on people and as a tool to potentially track both criminals and those who have never committed a crime.

Many are concerned that this is a breach of privacy since this is being done without people’s knowledge or consent.

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Millions of licenses were scanned by FBI and ICE agents between 2014 and 2017, without the holders knowing. The FBI and ICE have had access American’s photos through their DMV files which include states like Utah, Vermont, and Washington. This is notable since these states offer a driver’s license or limited permit to undocumented immigrants.

This is thought to be the first known case of ICE agents using facial recognition technology to scan drivers’ licenses for surveillance and crime purposes. The report shows how facial recognition technology has quickly become an integral part of daily law enforcement in the U.S. It’s also being utilized to track down suspects in minor crimes like cashing in a check or theft.

While police have generally had access to info such as fingerprints and DNA, the DMV data allows access to photographs that they then match with suspects. According to the report, while some requests required court order, in some other cases, an email to a DMV employee would be enough to give information on an individual. DMV personnel would then search their data for a potential match and provide it to authorities.

What is ICE enforcement doing with the DMV data?

CREDIT:Twitter/@leandrareports

According to a report from the Government Accountability Office that was published last month, 21 states allowed the FBI to scan through the DMV databases. Under that same report, it notes that since 2011, the FBI has logged more than 390,000 facial-recognition searches of federal and local databases, including DMV databases.

Now, many are asking what exactly is ICE doing with some of this obtained information. The report doesn’t exactly reveal if ICE search requests have led directly to the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Matt Bourke, an ICE spokesman, told the New York Times that he could not comment on “investigative techniques, tactics or tools” because of “law-enforcement sensitivities.”

However, Bourke did say that “during the course of an investigation, ICE has the ability to collaborate with external local, federal and international agencies to obtain information that may assist in case completion and subsequent prosecution. This is an established procedure that is consistent with other law enforcement agencies.”

Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have expressed their disapproval over reports that the federal agencies were using driver’s license photos.

Credit:Twitter/@senatorleahy

“This technology is evolving extremely rapidly, without any, really, safeguards, whether we are talking about commercial use or government use,” Elijah Cummings, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman, said at a hearing on the issue last month. “There are real concerns about the risks that this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties, and our right to privacy.”

At a hearing last month regarding facial recognition technology, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said most Americans have yet to be aware or give consent to use their images for facial recognition purposes.

“No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses. They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s okay to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen,” Jordan said.

In various states, undocumented immigrants can obtain drivers’ licenses. But as news comes out about this breach of privacy, many now realize that the data they are providing to get permits is also being utilized by ICE agents.

These states have never told undocumented people that when they apply for a driver’s license they are also turning over their face to ICE,” Harrison Rudolph, an associate at Georgetown, told the New York Times. “That is a huge bait and switch.”

READ: Woman Pays The Bond Of A Woman Being Held In ICE Detention Center And The Internet Is Living For This Moment Of Kindness

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2020 Has Been A Tragic Year As A Record Number Of Migrants Die In ICE Custody

Things That Matter

2020 Has Been A Tragic Year As A Record Number Of Migrants Die In ICE Custody

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The news out of 2020 continues to devastate and it’s getting harder and harder to be shocked by just how horrible things are looking. However, the level of neglect inside ICE detention centers is so shocking that it’s leading to a record number of deaths. No matter what year it is, that is shocking.

It’s been 14 years, during the presidency of George Bush, since ICE detention centers have recorded the level of deaths that they’re recording this year. Despite warnings from health and immigration experts, ICE has largely refused to release immigrants from overcrowded cells despite an ongoing and out of control global health pandemic. This blatant disregard for life has had a huge impact as at least 18 people have died while in ICE detention centers so far this fiscal year.

ICE is responsible for the well-being of individuals in its custody and has broad discretion to release people for humanitarian reasons. The government should test everyone in its custody for COVID-19 and increase releases to prevent further deaths.

Three recent deaths in ICE detention centers bring 2020’s total to the second highest since 2006.

The death toll for immigrants in ICE custody reached the highest level since 2006 after three more people died this week.

Last week, it was reported that two men died while in ICE detention on August 5. One of the men who died last week was James Thomas Hill, a 72-year-old Canadian citizen who tested positive for COVID-19 about a month before his death. He was detained for three months at Farmville Detention Center in Virginia, despite being high-risk due to his age.

A 51-year-old man from Taiwan, Kuan Hui Lee, also died on August 5. Lee had been detained at Krome Detention Center in Florida for 7 months because he had overstayed a visa 16 years ago. While further details of his medical condition and death have not been reported, ICE has a long history of medical neglect of people in its custody with serious health conditions.

Then on August 11, Buzzfeed News reported that a 70-year-old Costa Rican man died in ICE custody at a Georgia Hospital on August 10, 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19. The man had been detained at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. According to AJC.com, the detainee suffered from diabetes and hypertension and had been hospitalized since August 4, 2020. ICE officials confirmed the death to BuzzFeed News, but have not released any additional details yet.

These tragedies increased the total deaths in ICE custody this fiscal year to 18, the highest number since 2006. Many—if not all—of the deaths that occur in ICE custody are avoidable.

“Many of these deaths were avoidable, unnecessary, and a direct result of the Trump administration’s refusal to take basic steps to protect the health and safety of detainees,” John Sandweg, a former ICE director during the Obama administration, told BuzzFeed News.

Many deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 but that’s not the complete picture.

Coronavirus has swept through ICE detention centers like wildfire and this has had a major impact on the health and welfare of detainees, the community, and even ICE employees.

So far this year, more than twice as many people have died in ICE custody over last year. And, unfortunately, there are at least 1,065 active Covid-19 cases in ICE detention centers, meaning more people are likely to get sick and die before the year ends.

The number of deaths is especially alarming considering the average number of people detained has been significantly lower this year than in recent years.

Farmville, an ICE detention center in Virgina, has the largest COVID-19 outbreak in immigration detention. As of August 6, over 97% of people held in this ICE facility had contracted COVID-19. The outbreak began as a super-spreader event caused by a transfer of 74 people from Florida and Arizona.

Advocates have consistently criticized ICE for failing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the people it detains.

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From FBI Raids To Felony Charges: It Was A Bad Week For YouTubers

Entertainment

From FBI Raids To Felony Charges: It Was A Bad Week For YouTubers

iamalexstokes / jakepaul / Instagram

It’s been a bad week for some of the world’s most popular YouTubers. Jake Paul and the Stoke twins are dealing with law enforcement and it’s not in their favor. Here’s what happened this week with some of your faves.

Jake Paul, brother of problematic Logan Paul, had the FBI raid his home this week.

The FBI raided Jak Paul’s Calabasas home in connection with the riot at the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona. Paul claimed not to be involved in the rioting and looting though he admits it looks like he was on camera. The YouTuber claims that he was just trying to find the George Floyd protests and was hoping to figure out from being at the Scottsdale Fashion Square.

The raid is tied to the riot in Scottsdale, Arizona that Paul was involved with.

Scottsdale Police first issued arrest warrants and charges for Paul and his friends in connection to the riot but have since dismissed them without prejudice. According to the police department, the charges were dropped so that that FBI could complete their own investigation into Paul. The guns seized from his home were not the reason the FBI raided the home and are currently in Los Angeles Sherrif’s Department, according to TMZ. The guns can be retrieved if Paul can show that he owns them with proof of purchase.

The Stokes Twins are also facing some serious charges from law enforcement.

Alan and Alex Stokes are famous for their prank videos. However, one of their prank videos from last October has gotten them into a lot of trouble. The twins are each facing one felony count of fake imprisonment affected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit, and one demeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.

The twins filmed a prank in October 2019 where they dressed in all black with ski masks and carried duffle bags full of cash. According to a press release from Orange County district attorney’s office, the twins ordered an Uber and the driver refused to drive them thinking they had committed a crime. A witness called the police and when the police arrived they ordered the Uber driver out of his car with guns drawn. Police let the driver go when it was determined he was not involved.

The twins are facing four years in jail for the prank.

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“These were not pranks,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the press release. “These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed. Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the public and when someone calls 911 to report an active bank robbery they are going to respond to protect lives. Instead, what they found was some kind of twisted attempt to gain more popularity on the internet by unnecessarily putting members of the public and police officers in danger.”

Be careful with your pranks, kids. You never know when your jajajas will turn to crimes because of a lack of foresight.

READ: The World’s Highest-Paid YouTuber Made $29 Million In 2019 And Their Identity May Surprise You

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