On Wednesday, July 27, ICIRR members joined Mijente, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya, and more for a press conference and hearing to expose how ICE is skirting state and local sanctuary laws across the country by using data brokers like LexisNexis.
How does it work? Cinthya Rodriguez from Mijente explained in an op-ed at Truthout:
ICE now has a specialized LexisNexis subscription that allows it to obtain private and public data without a warrant, without subpoenas and without requests to local police departments or sheriff’s offices.
For the bargain basement price of around $4.4 million a year, ICE agents buy access to vast reams of commercial and public data — 1.5 billion bankruptcy records, 77 million business contacts, 330 million unique cell phone numbers, 11.3 billion name and address combinations, 6.6 billion vehicle registrations and 6.5 billion property records, according to its website.
ICE having access to this data puts immigrant communities at risk. Michelle Garcia from Access Living spoke at the press conference and explained her fears after seeing her 43-page file:
This information being in the hands of a third party like LexisNexis, and then potentially in the hands of ICE, puts my loved ones and other community members at risk. I have the privilege of citizenship, but if I were one of the millions of undocumented people living in the US, ICE could find me within a matter of hours by searching through a report like mine. ICE still has free rein to go after anyone they believe is deportable, and data sharing by companies like LexisNexis facilitates ICE’s deportation enforcement work in Cook County and in Illinois despite our county welcoming laws and state laws including the Illinois TRUST Act and Illinois Way Forward Act. I am not an exception.
WATCH Michelle's full testimony here:
Fred Tsao, ICIRR's senior policy counsel laid out our demands at the Cook County hearing organized by Commissioner Alma Anaya:
We need our county agencies, to the extent that they have not done so already, to audit their data sharing and sale policies. We also need to restrict the sale or sharing of such data, not just directly with other government entities but also with third parties with which those entities share data. And we should ask our county agencies to review their data collection practices, since what they do not collect they cannot sell or otherwise share.
WATCH the full press conference:
READ MORE coverage:
ICE’s use of data brokers to ‘go around’ sanctuary laws under fire (Washington Post)