If you thought President Trump’s crackdown on immigration law has intensified, it appears things may just have gotten worse. In an article published by Gizmodo, we are learning that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has finalized a contract with Vigilant Solutions that is geared toward granting them agency-wide access to a national license plate recognition database. Although law enforcement agencies have been implementing license plate readers for some time, “this is the first time the agency has gained full access to such a surveillance database to crack down on illegal immigration”.
What does a license plate reader do exactly? It takes a photo of a license plate, records details such as the vehicle’s location and when it was spotted, and that information is then uploaded to a database. Essentially, these license plate readers can track a vehicle’s whereabouts and can help target an owner who has been flagged by law enforcement. The database currently contains more than 2 billion license plate photos and ICE agents now have the ability to scan through these photos and find where this license plate has been seen in the past five years.
Why might this violate citizen’s rights?
Privacy advocates are saying that the information being obtained using this database could reveal a lot more than what’s on a person’s driver’s license. For instance, it might show other residences tied to it, associates, places of employment, and even help ICE infer a person’s medical condition. The example provided was if a car was spotted at a Planned Parenthood or STI testing center, that person’s desire to remain unanimous let’s say if they were pregnant, would be compromised.
ICE is also comprising a “hot list” where certain license plates can be added and agents would be notified when that vehicle containing the license plate travels through a tunnel, over a bridge, through a toll booth, or even when it passes through a traffic stop. ICE agents who use the site also have the option of tagging a certain license plate where they would then receive alerts via Vigiliant’s app whenever it is spotted.
In one case, a single car had its location recorded 24 times in just one week. And what’s scary is that other “intimate” data might be collected and the potential subject wouldn’t even know. Another issue Gizmodo points out is that “by working with private companies protected by proprietary business laws, many of the surveillance tactics will remain obscured.” If citizens aren’t aware of where and when they are being tracked by surveillance, they won’t be given the opportunity to voice their own concerns on the matter.
Between this new tactic, ICE officials storming on public buses demanding papers from random individuals, and laws becoming more stringent, President Trump has certainly kept his word on getting rid of illegal immigrants.
If you are currently living in the U.S. and have yet to obtain the paperwork you need to be granted citizenship, let USAttorneys.com find you a local immigration attorney now to help you. You don’t want to risk being deported or thrown into an immigration detention center simply because you waited too long to renew your documents or simply weren’t aware of how to obtain the ones you needed.