ICE is releasing thousands of immigrants affected by a data breach

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released nearly 3,000 immigrants whose personal information, including dates of birth and places of detention, was inadvertently posted online by the US government, according to government officials.

Officials erroneously published the names, dates of birth, nationalities, and places of detention of more than 6,000 migrants who they claim to have fled torture and persecution on the agency’s website in late November. Immigrant advocates have criticized the disclosure, saying it could put people in danger.

Officials said ICE will not deport any immigrants affected by the dump until they have had an opportunity to raise the case in immigration court. But more than 100 immigrants whose information was leaked had already been deported by the time the breach was discovered. Officials said another group – fewer than 10 individuals – was deported shortly after the data was leaked but before the migrants were notified. The officials added that the agency is ready to help deported immigrants who want to return to the United States and seek asylum return to the United States if they want to do so.

Many immigrants seeking safety in the United States fear that gangs, governments, or individuals back home will find out they have done so and retaliate against them or their families. To mitigate this risk, federal regulation generally prohibits the release of personal information of people seeking asylum and other protections without the approval of senior homeland security officials.

“Although unintentional, ICE put lives at risk with this data breach. The commitments that ICE has made to those affected will go a long way toward mitigating the harm,” said Heidi Altmann, director of policy at the National Center for Immigrant Justice. Nasjim, but only if ICE is serious and transparent about its promises.Immigrant Advocacy Organization.

However, Altman said the agency should be more proactive, ensuring the safe return of migrants who have already been deported so they can file a new asylum application.

Curtis Morrison, a California immigration attorney, said he plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of more than a dozen detained immigrants who claim the disclosure puts them in danger.

“The agency’s actions are not sufficient to mitigate the damage caused by the ICE data breach,” Morrison said in an email Thursday.

ICE’s November disclosure of more than 6,000 names sparked a massive effort by the agency to investigate the causes of the error and reduce the risk of retaliation from immigrants whose information had been exposed.

The agency has been in contact with migrants whose information was posted online, including several hundred migrants who had already been released from custody by the time the information was posted.

The agency accidentally released the data during a routine update to its website on November 28. The human rights organization first reported the error to ICE officials, and the agency quickly deleted the data from its website. The file was posted on a page where ICE regularly publishes detention statistics. The information lasted for five hours.

“Although this release of information is unintentional, it is a breach of policy, and the agency is investigating the incident and taking all necessary corrective action,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement.

To date, nearly 2,900 immigrants named in the leak have been released from custody. The cases of another 2,200 who remain in detention will be reviewed for possible release.

ICE officials will allow some immigrants affected by the data warehouse to claim asylum even if they wouldn’t normally qualify. The agency will not oppose efforts to reopen cases of immigrants affected by the dropout.

In December, the Department of Homeland Security inadvertently informed the Cuban government that some immigrants the agency sought to deport to the island nation had asked the United States for protection from persecution or torture.

A Cuban Interior Ministry official in touch with the Cuban government about deportation flights to the country said “unintentionally” that some of the 103 Cubans who could have been on a flight were affected by the data dump in late November.

The Homeland Security official did not name any specific individuals. But telling Cuba that some of the potential deportees had been affected by the ICE leak amounted to asserting that they had sought shelter in the US, where everyone whose information was leaked sought US protection, and the leak was widely covered in the US media.

None of the 103 Cubans have been removed, and about 90 of them had been released from U.S. custody as of early January, agency officials said this week.

In December, several members of Congress, including Representatives Norma Torres (D’Impomona) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro), sent a letter to ICE leadership demanding answers about how the initial leak occurred.

“We believe that ICE’s failure to comply with simple regulations to protect asylum seekers may put the lives of these vulnerable individuals and their families at risk, and we urge you to take immediate action to ensure the privacy of this and other sensitive information held by the agency,” the letter stated.

We are deeply troubled by this news because federal law requires information of people seeking asylum to be kept confidential. Many of us are frequently visited by individuals who risk their lives and livelihoods to help their communities thrive in the face of oppressive regimes. Some of these brave individuals continue to seek asylum in the United States – and it is unacceptable that their information be placed in bad hands.”

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