FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2017

Contact: “Julie” Yihong Mao | jmao@nipnlg.org | 202-792-6610
Contact: Tania Unzueta | tania@mijente.org | 773-387-3186

Lawsuit Filed to Force ICE and DHS to Release Information on the Use of Mobile Biometric Devices during Raids and Deportations

WASHINGTON, D.C. ‐ Yesterday, Mijente and the National Immigration Project of National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) filed a lawsuit demanding that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveal the information requested related to their use of mobile fingerprinting units, or biometric devices, in immigration raids and other immigration enforcement actions.

“Communities have repeatedly reported that DHS is using biometric technology to conduct large scale and indiscriminate raids based on racial profiling...ICE has refused to release any information on its mobile biometrics program. We must now seek relief in Court in order to bring transparency and accountability to ICE’s actions.”

The recent uptick in the use of mobile biometric devices in ICE immigration raids has sparked serious national concern over civil rights violations, racial profiling, and privacy disenfranchisement. The coinciding surge in immigration raids under the Trump Administration raises further alarm over whether such mobile biometric devices have adequate oversight and accountability. As ICE increasingly promotes the use of such technologies, the public deserves to know the impact of their use on communities, including within immigrant communities and communities of color. The organizations filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request on March 17, 2017, which the government has refused to answer.

“We requested the information because communities have repeatedly reported that DHS is using biometric technology to conduct large scale and indiscriminate raids based on racial profiling,” said “Julie” Yihong Mao, an attorney with NIPNLG. “To date, ICE has refused to release any information on its mobile biometrics program. We must now seek relief in Court in order to bring transparency and accountability to ICE’s actions.”

"Immigration agents are showing up at people’s doorstep, demanding they submit their bodies to scanning, and taking people into detention with little regard for due process or people’s civil rights,” explained Tania Unzueta, Mijente’s Policy Director, “we demand that DHS release the requested records effective immediately, so that we can know what is going on behind closed doors and put a halt to government abuse of power.”

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Mijente is a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building. Campaigns combating criminalization, including the detention and deportation of migrants has been at the center of our work. Mijente SC builds from the successes of the #Not1More Deportation campaign, which sought a stop deportations through administrative action. Visit www.mijnete.net for more info. Follow at @conmijente

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) promotes justice and equality of treatment in all areas of immigration law, the criminal justice system, and public policies related to immigration

Download the Lawsuit