How Immigration Enforcement Is Eroding Your Privacy

The United States has pursued aggressive increases in immigration enforcement over the past two decades across several presidencies. Congress has allocated increasing resources during this period. Now, our immigration enforcement agencies have more funding than at any point in history.

These added resources have allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand more than ever. DHS has not only increased staffing and infrastructure, but invested heavily in new technology.

This technology collects, processes, and stores personal information from state and local governments, as well as private vendors.

The government’s unfettered collection of personal information under the guise of immigration enforcement is becoming so widespread that it is eroding the privacy of all Americans.

How ICE Uses Our State Driver’s Licensing Data for Immigration Enforcement
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) licensing and vehicle registration information has become a primary resource for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency uses this data to identify and pursue people suspected of being in the United States unlawfully.

These databases contain a great deal of personal information that is useful to ICE. These databases store the photographs, home addresses, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of every person—U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike—licensed by the state.

ICE agents have indicated this information is more current and reliable than some of the agency’s own databases. ICE is using them to create an unprecedented surveillance system affecting millions of Americans.

Some states have protections in place that prevent the disclosure of DMV information. Others share this information directly with ICE. And some states even sell information contained in our DMV profiles to private companies. These companies then aggregate data from across the country and sell it to the federal government for profit.

Recent media reports confirm that the state of Maryland has provided ICE with full access to its driver’s license database. That database includes the biometric information of over seven million people.

By Jorge Loweree for
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