Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.

Immigration Law

Babies and Children Listed in DHS "Criminal Alien" Database

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 27, 2017 - "A database the Trump administration said would help victims of crimes track the custody of suspected criminal immigrants mistakenly listed babies and other children.  The public database included the names of children, from infants to underage teenagers, in immigration custody.  When alerted Wednesday evening, Department of Homeland Security officials said the release of children’s names was a lapse in policy.  The agency is not supposed to release information on children in immigration custody, said Gillian M. Christensen, acting Homeland Security press secretary.  “The Department of Homeland Security’s policy is and remains to protect the information of minors in our custody.  Following the April 26 launch of the DHS-Victim Information and Notification Exchange (DHS-VINE) the appropriate filter was not applied to the data being made available to site users,” Christensen said.  She said the situation would be remedied.  A 3-year-old boy from El Salvador detained in Texas at Karnes Residential Center — an immigration detention center — and a 4-year-old Guatemalan girl in Phoenix were just some of the scores of children listed in the public system.  The database even included unaccompanied minors — children who came to the U.S. without their parents — who are currently held in group homes.  Immigration attorney Bryan Johnson first noticed the flaw during a test search of the system.  Johnson, an immigration attorney based in Long Island, N.Y., who frequently defends children brought into the U.S. illegally, called it “reckless incompetence on the part of the Trump administration.”  “In their haste to pretend like they care about victims of immigrant crimes, the Trump administration released personally identifiable information regarding vulnerable children at risk of human trafficking and other crimes,” he said.  “They should just take it down and do it right, which would basically show it's a farce because [it would] be close to impossible to create a database where only detainees listed had ‘victims.’”  The program falls under a new office launched Wednesday that is intended to help what the Department of Homeland Security has described as forgotten victims.  It’s the latest effort by the Trump administration to spotlight crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally."