ICE has access to law enforcement license plate reader data, ACLU says

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The ACLU recently uncovered information that shows local police departments across the country have been sharing their residents’ personal information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and the ACLU believes ICE is using the information to deport undocumented immigrants.

“We discovered in the documents that over 9,000 ICE agents nationwide have access to over 5 billion points of location information about drivers, specifically vehicle plate information,” said Vasudha Talla, a staff lawyer with the ACLU. “And it’s really disturbing to us to know that local police departments are sharing very sensitive personal information about their residents to ICE.”

The ACLU says, that among other things, granting ICE access to this information violates the California Values Act which prevents police from sharing personal data to enforce immigration laws.

“Our next step is to call on the California state auditor to conduct this audit of California law enforcement agencies to ensure they’re in compliance with the state laws that would prohibit sharing this information with ice,” Talla said.

More than 80 local law enforcement agencies nationwide are said to be involved.

“We have sent letters calling on local law enforcement that are listed in the sharing report that we believe to be here in california, to stop sharing that information with ICE,” the lawyer said.

KRON4 reached out to ICE for a statement and they said, “Like other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations. It doesn’t use it to track or locate individuals who have no connection to ice enforcement activities, it doesn’t take enforcement action against any individual based on the information obtained from the vendor’s LPR service.”

They went on to say that, “ICE personnel check the information against other investigative information including information from government systems before taking any action against the individual.”

While it’s unclear whether any deportations have been made as a result of the license plate reader data, the ACLU is doing their part to make sure it doesn’t happen.

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