Immigration

Immigration Authorities Want Access to All the Raw Intelligence the Feds Already Collected on You

And Donald Trump just might be the president to give ICE free rein.

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Border Patrol
John Gibbins/TNS/Newscom

Now that Congress and the president have renewed and expanded federal foreign intelligence surveillance authorities to be used on Americans and people on American soil, immigration officials want in on the information.

It's not enough for Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, and immigration officials to demand to see our papers at checkpoints and stops within the United States, to try to implement facial recognition scans at airports and entry points, to try to demand access to our phones and laptops, and to start scanning license plates. Now, the Daily Beast reports, they want to officially be treated like an intelligence agency and have greater access to information collected through secret surveillance.

While this is by no means a new push confined to the current administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probably has the friendliest ear they've had in a while in President Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff explains:

If ICE joins the Intelligence Community, then its officials will have increased access to raw intelligence, unfiltered by analysts. This could prove useful to both of the agency's components: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which investigates transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes, and arms trafficking; and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which arrests and detains undocumented immigrants.

For anybody who remembers the privacy debate surrounding the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments, the list of crimes ICE investigates is very relevant. When Congress renewed Section 702, they officially gave the FBI authorization to use this foreign intelligence law to secretly snoop on American citizens in order to investigate a list of federal crimes. That authorized list aligns very nicely with the types of crimes ICE investigates.

So if ICE were to get greater access to federal intelligence, thanks to the renewal and expansion of Section 702 of FISA, immigration officials would also get additional access to secret data collected about Americans, not just immigrants.

And Section 702's renewal puts some wonky warrant rules in place. If an American citizen is suspected of a crime that ICE is investigating, officials are required to get a warrant to get access to an American's private communications. But if they are not the subject of an investigation or their communications get collected in intelligence-gathering that's not about fighting crime, they do not. So, weirdly, Americans have more due process protections from warrantless snooping if they're suspected of crimes.

For the purposes of ICE surveillance, it's very easy to imagine that an American communicating with an immigrant (here legally or not) having his or her phone calls or communications accessed without even knowing about it. So if ICE is allowed to intrude further into the realm of intelligence, that increases the number of federal officials allowed to have access to secret snooping not just of immigrants or people in foreign lands, but of Americans here at home as well.

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  1. No amount of rights, liberties, or privacy are too much to sacrifice if it prevents one person from getting a job without express written permission from the government.

  2. Why don’t we just take a census and then arrest anyone that’s not on the list?

    1. Just have roving bands of enforcers who ask people randomly “Should you be here?” If they answer anything other than “yes” execute immediately.

  3. Repeat after me: Immigration enforcement requires a police state.

    1. Technically, having a state requires a police state.

      1. Not necessarily, but the first condition required for a police state is to have police.

        1. The same way having US Marshals is required for having Marshal Law.

          1. Also, we need to have more military parades, so that the POTUS can have more “gravitas”, so that the Law of Gravity will continue to work!

          2. Also, I don’t think that the POTUS is looking for those military parades in order to “honor the soldiers”, it is more like He wants the soldiers to honor HIM!

            This is relevant, why? Because the POTUS feels that He needs more “gravitas”… And the Law of Gravity can NOT work, if He doesn’t have enough “gravas”!

            1. Whoa! The squirrels got me, THE SQRLSY One!

            2. Do you know that the key to communication is putting out a message that can be understood? I’m only asking because come on, look what you typed.

              1. Ooops! OK, I do see my typo now…

                This is relevant, why? Because the POTUS feels that He needs more “gravitas”… And the Law of Gravity can NOT work, if He doesn’t have enough “gravitas”!

          3. We also need at least one norder for law norder.

            1. Also, we are going to need more odor, if we are going to have “odor in the court!”

              1. Stop it. Stop it right now before this becomes a pun thread.

                There’s a bill going into the smell committees today about justice reforms.

      2. America didn’t have any police for a time if memory serves. A quick search says the first American police force was established in Boston around 1838.

  4. How do they not already have access? I just figured all of that data is just sitting there available to whoever wants it.

    1. They should just ask the Russians.

      1. Man, my hard drive crashed the other day…

        And I asked both the NSA ***AND*** the frickin’ Russians, and NEITHER ONE OF THEM offered to let me copy their back-up copy of my hard drive… Which I know DAMNED WELL that they are keeping a copy of!!!

        WHY an I paying taxes to both the NSA and the Russians, then? I scratch their backs, and what am I, chopped smegma or some such thing?!?!? Just a taxpayer-cow to be milked?!?!?

        1. Probably forgot to bribe ’em.

          Silly goose.

  5. Motel 6 already gave them all my dirt.

    1. And you didn’t even leave the light on….

  6. So we’re saying that immigrants should be the only group who don’t have this information used against them? I mean, they’re already using this data against Americans. If that doesn’t piss people off, guess what no gives a shit if it’s used on immigrants.

    Not to say it shouldn’t be nuked from orbit, obviously, but seriously if American’s don’t care that this information is being used against citizens there is virtually no chance whatsoever that they give fucks about it being used on foreign nationals. Who, you might notice, the program was originally supposed to be pointed at in the first place.

    1. Re: BYODB,

      So we’re saying that immigrants should be the only group who don’t have this information used against them?

      Here’s your honorary ‘I’m An Idiot’ card, B. A round of applause for B!

      No one ever suggested that. The suggestion is that government sucks and shouldn’t be engaging in surveillance of anyone, except maybe the bad guys.

      1. As usually you fail at reasoning.

        The problem obviously being that Shackford is using foreign nationals as his foil which, notably, are the specific people who were intended to be targeted by the program all along. That isn’t a defense of the program, but notably if people don’t give fucks about it being used against citizens they definitely won’t give fucks about it being used against non-citizens. In fact, the entire thing was explicitly authorized to be pointed at foreign nationals both inside and outside of the United States so ironically this is one area where the program is explicitly authorized to be used.

        Weird.

        It’s a continuation of the theme where non-citizens are more important than citizens. I could get behind they are equal to citizens because I do believe in equality but this line of argument places them above citizens which is as ludicrous a position as you’re likely to find around here.

    2. I don’t think that’s what we or anyone is saying. The FBI can investigate immigrants. It’s not as if ICE is the only agency empowered to investigate immigrants, or that they only enforce laws that apply to immigrants.

      The problem isn’t a new class of people whose info can be used, but that a new agency is getting access to the information. ICE isn’t just about investigating immigrants. Customs enforcement applies to anyone crossing a border or receiving goods from abroad. Citizens have to go through immigration too.

      If people who value privacy and legal protections of private information are framing this as “oh, no, now immigrants can be spied on too”, they are being really stupid.


      1. So if ICE were to get greater access to federal intelligence, thanks to the renewal and expansion of Section 702 of FISA, immigration officials would also get additional access to secret data collected about Americans, not just immigrants.

        Last I heard, wasn’t local law enforcement getting some information out of this whole deal to enable them to do the whole ‘parallel construction’ nonsense without explicit access? If so, the odd’s that ICE isn’t getting information already is close to zero.

        The whole program needs to be nuked regardless of it’s impact of legal or illegal immigration or customs.

        1. Yeah, the change probably doesn’t really change much on the ground. But it’s definitely a move in the wrong direction.

          The whole program needs to be nuked regardless of it’s impact of legal or illegal immigration or customs.

          Yes. This is certainly not the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      2. The growth of the Police and Nanny State is by design for lefties. Massive surveillance is okay because it serves various purposes to further their agendas.

        The unintended consequence of open border people siding with lefties on open borders, is that the government will use more unconstitutional and constitutional surveillance on everyone to catch the illegals.

        1. open border people siding with lefties on open borders

          I prefer to look at it the other way round. Lefties haven’t always been for open borders (and a lot still aren’t).

          1. I prefer to look at it the other way round. Lefties haven’t always been for open borders (and a lot still aren’t).

            ^ This. There are a lot of libertarians for whom if Democrats were to start advocating liberty, they would suddenly be very against it.

        2. The sad truth is that ‘both’ parties in power in the US are ‘lefties’.

        3. “The growth of the Police and Nanny State is by design for lefties.”

          How nice of the Republicans to pass the PATRIOT Act for their friends on the left!

  7. So if ICE were to get greater access to federal intelligence, […] immigration officials would also get additional access to secret data collected about Americans, not just immigrants.

    Making America Grating Again means never having to say “I’m sorry I deported you, American citizen.”

    1. How many American citizens have been deported?

      1. Millions. Every “illegal” is really a citizen, because the government has no right to tell you if you get to be an American citizen or not. Just because you came from beyond an imaginary line doesn’t strip you of your humanity.

        /open borders logic

        1. Every “illegal” is really a citizen, because the government has no right to tell you if you get to be an American citizen or not.

          No.

          Just because you came from beyond an imaginary line doesn’t strip you of your humanity.

          Yes.

          1. Humanity = Citizenship of America specifically?

            The apparent underlying assumption being that America is the only true country on this planet since only we ‘truly’ recognize natural rights whereas virtually no other nation does. This therefore legitimizes our manifest destiny to rule the planet.

            But then again, that’s just where that line of reasoning takes me. That doesn’t mean that’s where it takes everyone I suppose.

            1. No, I was taking those as entirely separate statements. I don’t think that everyone should just get US citizenship. I also think that the humanity of the individual is a lot more important than citizenship.

              1. Yeah, this shouldn’t have been a reply to you since I know that’s not what you’re saying. It’s more of a rant, I suppose. I should have nested my response differently, my bad.

            2. And, of course, it’s mostly true that interstate borders are some of the most free, if not the most free, borders around. Thus, if we make enough war with the world there will be no more borders.

              That’s one of the disconnects in the open borders idea that doesn’t seem to be addressed, in that it’s right in line with state building and an American hegemony. They aren’t at all mutually exclusive, it’s more like they’re hand-in-hand.

              We’re enlightening those savages, after all, which is honestly what a whole lot of people seem to be saying .(And while I agree there are a lot of places that can be labeled ‘savage’ I’d argue we have no obligation to make them less so and no obligation to shelter their dissidents.)

              1. I’d argue we have no obligation to make them less so and no obligation to shelter their dissidents.

                There is certainly no such collective obligation. I think individuals ought to be able to try to do so (especially the sheltering dissidents part) if they want to and have the means. In any case, most immigration is economic and has no such lofty aims attached to it.

              2. That’s one of the disconnects in the open borders idea that doesn’t seem to be addressed, in that it’s right in line with state building and an American hegemony.

                Only for those who misunderstand the phrase “Manifest Destiny.”

                1. Perhaps I should have said Neo-Manifest Destiny or something like it. I suppose ‘Globalism’ might be a better catch-all, but globalism with America as it’s head as the only rightful protector of natural law / natural rights since borders protect those who violate the natural rights of their citizens.

                  It’s not really anything new, but rather a few older things that seem to be blending together a bit more than they did previously. I honestly don’t even know if anyone actually believes that, but rhetorically I sometimes see it between the lines. It could just be projection or conspiracy theories on my part, for sure.

          2. I was joking, Zeb. It was meant to be a straw man on top of a non-sequitur.

  8. A month ago we were arguing that FISA not pass in its current form.

    Now we’re just hoping to give less assholes access to it.

    This is us.

    1. What’s he doing? Trying to heat up leftovers?

      1. No, to do that one would have government employees put out the fire after a citizen called a government employee to report the fire. Then the land owners would contact various regulatory bodies to see if they could obtain new zoning and building permits to build a new complex. They’d have tear down all adjacent building because FYTW. The government would require that the landlord use their cousin’s “approved” contracting service, and when it was built incorrectly they’d discover that said contractor has no insurance. Thus the landowners for the original complex and all adjacent complexes would be on the hook for destroying and rebuilding the entire structure.

        Finally after passing a walkthrough and being declared safe for habitations, one would light the building on fire and reheat the leftovers.

        Repeat PRN.

  9. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which investigates transnational crimes….

    Who also called that The Department of Homeland Security would expand its scope from “protecting the homeland” to wasteful duplicate missions, like: international policing (Interpol & FBI), arms trafficking policing (BATF), drug trafficking policing (DEA)?

  10. This is one of the things which pisses me off the most about all the xenophobes hollering about illegal immigration. I understand they think immigrants are stealing all our welfare, committing crimes, and generally behaving like deplorables, even though every study I have seen shows they are wrong.

    What is so aggravating is that they can’t see past the ends of their noses, how the only way to keep out immigrants is with intrusive government bureaucracies on a huge scale. How can you be for small government and want immigration control?

    These same people, at least some of them, laugh at proggies who get busted for weed or some other victimless crime, saying what did they expect when they voted for government power?

    Unprincipled unthinking yahoots, tha’s what they are.

    1. I understand they think immigrants are stealing all our welfare, committing crimes, and generally behaving like deplorables, even though every study I have seen shows they are wrong.

      70%+ of immigrant led families are on government assistance. The ones here legally are relatively law abiding for fear of deportation. The illegal ones are criminals by virtue of the way they came to stay here. The progeny of both return to high rates of criminality and this is well documented.

      The bigger issue is voting. These people vote in racial blocks, regardless of principles. And that is going to mean the balkanization and destruction of “liberal” values in the long run, if you grant enough of them (and their children) the right to vote.

      What is so aggravating is that they can’t see past the ends of their noses, how the only way to keep out immigrants is with intrusive government bureaucracies on a huge scale. How can you be for small government and want immigration control?

      There is no contradiction in wanting a generally smaller government, and also wanting a government that does the things it is supposed to do, and is large enough to accomplish those things.

      unprincipled unthinking yahoots, tha’s what they are.

      Or they have different principles and different values than you. Or perhaps they share many of your values, and think this is the best way to preserve them.

      1. The bigger issue is voting. These people vote in racial blocks, regardless of principles.

        Yeah, who needs all those Cuban immigrants who reliably vote Republican! Amirite?

        1. Only a fucking mental midget would pull out the SINGLE example, out of dozens, that votes anything right of center. 70% or so of Mexicans vote left. They say they want bigger government that provides more services. Given that THIS is the fastest growing demographic in the USA thanks to the Reagan amnesty, only a stupid fucking moron wouldn’t be terrified of legalizing 11 million more of them, and all their kids, and all their kids progeny.

          Mark my words open border retards: In 30 years you will be kicking yourself in the balls for being so fucking ignorant of the obvious, objective reality that Kivlor and people like me were noting about mass immigration. When we’re as far left as Sweden, or worse, specifically because of all the new immigrants voting left… Just remember you were a fucking idiot that supported it when millions of others were trying to point out the reality of the situation.

          The world isn’t the way I wish it was… But only a moron ignores reality because it doesn’t fit their preconceived notions. And said morons will get bit in the ass just as hard by said reality, no matter how hard they try to ignore it.

        2. A single tiny group. A drop of oil in a 10 gallon bucket of water.

          Chemjeff, I could care less about the Republican Party. Balkanization is bad. More government, if you come from a libertarian or conservative position is bad. If you want less government, it is crucial to not import and then enfranchise an entire demographic of people that want more government, or who will vote for more government even if they don’t want it, simply because “the race” votes that way.

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