ICE Released Private Info on Thousands of Refugees

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the names, birthdates, nationalities, and detention facility locations of at least 6,252 refugees and asylees in the United States. The accidental information leak could jeopardize thousands of individuals seeking safety from persecution in their home nations. Read our blog to learn more.

The Information

Under federal law, the identities of individuals seeking asylum or refugee status in the United States must be kept confidential to protect those individuals from retaliation from the governments or entities that persecuted them previously. Only with official signatures from officials in the Department of Homeland Security can these4 identities be released.

ICE accidentally released large amounts of personal information about over 6,000 asylees and refugees including their locations. The info was made live and available on the agency’s website. An immigrant advocacy group called Human Rights First caught the breach and informed ICE officials about it so the agency could immediately delete and remove the data.

However, these efforts were not timely enough and the data was up for at least five hours. Anyone who downloaded the data will be notified of the need to delete the information immediately.

Why It Matters

An information leak such as this on such large scale is alarming for a number of reasons. Chief among them concerns about the safety of immigrants who have fled from gangs, persecution, and entities that pose a threat to their lives.

Additionally, not all immigrants named in the leak are free from action. Some could potentially be deported if the leak changes the circumstances of their case. The agency’s “accident” has life or death consequences and could even bring into question the security of private information at ICE facilities.

This is not the first time ICE has been at the center of controversy for lap[sees and dysfunction and many are concerned that it will not be the last.

If you believe you have an immigration case, contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. immediately.