Immigration authorities are getting ready to launch a massive information sharing program to aid law enforcement that critics say poses a risk of foreign nationals being wrongfully arrested due to inaccurate data, according to an online article by USA Today.
The database program compiles information on immigration and immigrants collected from more than nine other federal sources that will be shared with federal, state, and local law enforcement, according to the article.
The databases used for the program include those that not only track criminals and suspected terrorists, but also foreign students, visitors and immigrants.
Federal officials say the database program will help law enforcement agents link suspected terrorists or other criminals with associates who are in the system, according to the USA Today article.
Civil rights and privacy groups, such as the ACLU, however, raise concerns about the accuracy of the information being compiled, USA Today reports.
As an example, among the databases immigration officials say is being used is the government’s terrorist watch list, which is the source of numerous false terrorism or criminal “hits” on the names of visa holders entering the U.S. More than 15,000 people have sought to have their names removed from that list due to incomplete or inaccurate information.
As with the terrorist watch list, the ACLU fears investigators will arrest innocent people based on information from the flawed databases. The ACLU explains that if the data is bad, and that bad data migrates from one database to another, innocent people are the victims who are being stopped or labeled as suspicious.
The database will be run by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and is known as “ICEPIC,” short for the ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection System.
ICEPIC will be posted in the Federal Register on Tuesday and will be in use after a 30-day comment period, ICE officials told USA Today.