By Cris Batista | Apr 20, 2022

How Does ICE Access Our Personal Data to Target Us?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a caging and deportation machine, a deadly system that is increasingly relying on surveillance tech and private data companies to violate our civil liberties.

As a federally funded organization, ICE uses the tax dollars of the average person, including undocumented immigrants, to buy personal data and get around the sanctuary city laws that our communities have worked hard to put into place.

Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis, the two of the biggest data brokers in the US, collect data from public and commercial sources (like phone/electricity/internet companies, DMVs, public property records, etc.) and then package that data up and sell it to ICE.

As Mijente, we’re committed to exposing the data broker companies that are collecting our information and giving ICE a clear path to harm our gente. In the past week, we have worked with advocates in Colorado and Illinois who are leading the charge to protect their communities.

What Can You Do?

Check out Sabotaging Sanctuary: Exposing ICE Surveillance in Colorado, a webinar we held on April 27th, 2022 to hear from Colorado organizers about the digital loopholes ICE is using and what this means for communities across the country.

You can read more about the recent news released in Colorado and Cook County, Illinois, exposing ICE collaborations with data brokers below. 

Colorado: ICE is Sabotaging Sanctuary

In Colorado, ICE has been paying data brokers in order to access personal information of residents, that they then use to surveil, arrest and deport immigrant communities. These actions violate of the efforts of thousands of immigrant advocates and organizations who fought for and won immigrant protection policies, also known as “sanctuary” policies. 

Through digital loopholes, tech companies and private sector data brokers are enabling the over-policing of Black and Latinx immigrant communities, leading to mass deportation and immigrant detention.

Read more:

Cook County, Illinois: Calls for ICE Investigation

In Cook County, Commissioner Alma E. Anaya has become the first legislator in US history to call for an investigation into ICE’s use of data brokers to skirt sanctuary city ordinances, which prohibit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies.

On April 7th, Commissioner Anaya, who represents the 7th district in southwest Chicago, called on the Board of Commissioners to investigate how personal information on Cook County residents is shared and sold, and to hold a public hearing.

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