* Press release…
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said today that his office does not share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or any other law enforcement agency on the issue of a person’s legal status in the United States.
White made his comment in response to published stories saying that ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation use photos from Drivers License offices nationwide as a means to identify undocumented persons. Illinois was not mentioned as one of the participating states. White’s statement serves to underscore this fact.
“If an individual is being sought by a law enforcement agency for criminal activity, we fully cooperate with authorities, but we do not specifically disclose the person’s legal standing.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has used facial recognition technology to comb through millions of driver’s license photos, a move experts say violates the privacy of both immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and at risk of deportation, and legal residents and citizens.
The searches were uncovered in documents obtained through public record requests by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology. They found ICE officials requested to look through state license photos, and at least two states complied, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
In the past two years, Illinois has received three or four requests from federal law enforcement, including ICE, for information on residents’ legal status, and has turned down every request, said Dave Druker, spokesman for the Illinois secretary of state’s office.
ICE would need to have a name, some other identifying factor, and indicate the person was a suspect in a crime in order to access the state’s database, Druker said. Broad searches or checking on immigration status is not enough, he said.