ICE Uses Drivers Licenses for Facial Recognition

Mario A. Godoy
ICE Uses Drivers Licenses for Facial Recognition

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using facial recognition to scan driver’s license photos in some states. Illinois has turned down ICE requests to review driver’s licenses. Facial recognition software use by law enforcement including ICE, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department is increasing, despite privacy agencies and artificial intelligence researches disputing their accuracy. 

Privacy experts say using facial recognition on driver’s licenses to identify individual for possible deportation is a violation of the rights of legal US citizens and residents, as well as immigrants in the country both legally and undocumented immigrants. 

Jesse White Issues Statement Regarding Policy on Granting Access to DL/ID photos

“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.”

The Washington Post reported that Federal authorities have had access to millions of Americans’ photos without their consent or approval from Congress by tapping into state driver’s license databases and have turned into an “unprecedented surveillance infrastructure” that some critics see as an “ask-permission-later” system.

The Chicago Tribune reports that 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.” The DMV database searches were uncovered in documents obtained through public record requests by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology.  

Undocumented Drivers Licenses
Illinois residents who are living in the United States without legal permission (non-visa status) can get a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License. A TVLD is for non-citizens who cannot get a Social Security Number, which is valid for 3 years and is not a government ID. More than a dozen states encourage undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to get driver’s licenses, said Alvaro Bedoya, founding director of the Center on Privacy and Technology. 

United States immigration laws can be extraordinarily complicated. The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855.554.6369.

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