Nope, this isn’t terrifying at all: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unleashed under the Trump administration, is now being “aided by ‘enhanced’ spy powers,” Daily Beast reports. “The change, which came behind closed doors and without fanfare, has concerned civil liberties advocates. And the Department of Homeland Security, which houses ICE isn’t answering questions about it.”
A letter to Congress from David Glawe, Homeland Security undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, said the Office of Intelligence and Analysis “is providing improved and enhanced intelligence capabilities to DHS components, including ICE and CBP, as well as the interagency.” Whatever that information might be or what the hell any of this means in the first place, we do know some other stuff ICE has been up to, including, surprise, spying on political opponents of the administration.
The Nation reported last month that ICE has tracked mass deportation critics and their protests, and even reportedly tracked an anti-white supremacy rally led by New York Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “In addition to the event organized by Espaillat, the ‘anti-Trump protest’ spreadsheet lists protests and marches organized by Young Progressives of America, Refuse Fascism NYC, NYC Says Enough, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and Rise and Resist, which garnered the most citations of any group,” The Nation reported.
”The Daily Beast emailed a few questions to the top DHS spokespersons several days before publication: What kind of enhanced capabilities does ICE now have? Is ICE collecting publicly available information, private information, or both? Does any of the collection involve scanning people’s social media accounts?” The government has not yet responded.
“It’s vital that the public understand the kinds of sensitive information that DHS may be collecting and analyzing—including whether ICE is relying on any expanded spying or data-mining capabilities for domestic immigration enforcement,” said Patrick Toomey of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. ICE is out of control, and rather Congress continuing to feed this beast, it needs to be starved.