Allegations of ICE privacy invasion add to fears about planned raids

Craig Wall Image
ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Monday, July 8, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Adding to fears of planned ICE raids are new allegations that ICE agents used facial recognition technology to scan state driver's license databases to search for undocumented immi

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend over and done, anxiety is once again building over President Donald Trump's planned immigration enforcement raids, which he previously tweeted would be postponed until after the holiday.

Alderman George Cardenas, representing the 12th Ward and chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, said fear of these raids has likely impacted business for stores and restaurants in communities with large immigrant populations.

"It's hard to quantify; folks don't have real data. They know it slows down whenever a potential raid is occurring or is about to occur," he said. "It's in the public domain so people hear about it through rumors and they stop coming so it is affecting, it is affecting your quality of life."

Francisca Lino is one of those living under a cloud of anxiety. The grandmother has found sanctuary in a Humboldt Park church for the past two years to avoid deportation.

"This morning we stand with Francisca. We say, 'You are not alone,'" said Rep. Chuy Garcia.

Adding to those fears are new allegations that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents used facial recognition technology to scan state driver's license databases in Vermont and Utah between 2015-2017 to search for undocumented immigrants - a move that some are calling a massive invasion of privacy.

"This is not the United States of America that I know or that we want, and so I think this use of facial recognition is another fear tactic that they want to use," said Rep. Jan Shakowsky.

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office said it does not grant ICE or FBI access to driver's license photos except for in criminal cases. As other communities including San Francisco have banned the use of the technology there, it's prompting calls for federal action.

"We need urgent legislation to prevent this type of mass spying on average people across the country," Garcia said.

Cardenas added that constituents of his ward are determined to go about their lives despite the threatened raids.