US immigration policies aimed at identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants are often problematic. Research consistently shows that such policies lead to widespread racial profiling, indefinite detention without due process, damage to public safety, and many privacy and civil rights violations.
But the trend toward documentation extends beyond the immigrant community. The FBI has developed NextGen, a national biometric identification system for all Americans, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security is overseeing the implementation of a Real ID, which will force states bring their driver’s licenses into compliance with federal standards, in effect creating a national I.D. card and database. DHS also oversees e-Verify, a national database employers can check to see if someone is legally allowed to work in the U.S., thereby creating the situation that people need the federal government’s permission to work.
The emphasis on documentation puts the federal government directly at the center of our lives, and the vast databases of our personal information creates significant privacy and security risks.
Protesting is an appropriate and essential way for noncitizens to confront the harsh treatment they are experiencing in detention centers, bring awareness to the issue, and seek to change it.
Oakland has been a “sanctuary city,” but the label didn’t mean much because the city still had an agreement with ICE to allow its police officers to cooperate with the federal agency.
After nearly four months of advocacy, supporters of the Fostering Community Trust ordinance erupted in applause after a majority of City Councilmembers raised their hands in favor of the measure, which enshrines an unwritten Rockville City Police (RPD) policy into law.
REAL ID threatens privacy, creates bureaucratic chaos, costs a fortune, and doesn’t do what it purports to do. More than nine states haven’t embraced REAL ID yet, and we can see why.