U.S. Citizen Sues Feds Over Detention in Maximum Security Prison Due to Immigration Database Error

U.S. Citizen Sues Feds Over Detention in Maximum Security Prison Due to Immigration Database Error

" A computer specialist is suing the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security after a controversial fingerprint-sharing program incorrectly identified him as an illegal immigrant and authorities ordered him detained in a maximum-security prison.  The lawsuit is the first legal challenge by a U.S. citizen to the Secure Communities program, which the Obama administration has expanded nationwide over the objections of immigration advocacy groups and Democratic governors in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts. ... "Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mine," Makowski, 24, said in a telephone interview Thursday. "But if the government can detain a U.S. citizen without justification, that's pretty outrageous. There have to be safeguards in place."  Makowski was born in India and adopted by an American family in New Jersey when he was 4 months old. The family later moved to Illinois. Makowski became a naturalized U.S. citizen at age 1, but the government did not update his immigration records, according to his lawyer, Mark Fleming.  Makowski's suit, which was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, argues that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security violated the Privacy Act of 1974, which restricts what information may be passed between government agencies, every time they share fingerprints from people who are not suspected of an immigration violation.  "The FBI and DHS are consistently and systematically violating the Privacy Act," said Fleming, a lawyer for the National Immigrant Justice Center, a nonprofit advocacy group in Chicago. "The FBI should not be sharing this data if they have indications that this individual is a U.S. citizen."  The lawsuit seeks to hold the government liable for unspecified damages for "loss of liberty" for two months, lost wages, emotional distress and attorney's fees." - L.A. Times, July 6, 2012.

[LInk to lawsuit, including all exhibits.]