Use Of Undocumented Immigrants’ Data
From Singtao Daily
July 10th, 2003
Some immigrant organizations are worried about the recent policy from the U.S.
Justice Department to put information of undocumented immigrants into a National
Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The organizations believe such actions
are infringing upon immigrant rights.
Immigration lawyer Huang Gui-Rong pointed out that the Justice Department announced
last year that it would enter three types of undocumented immigrants’ data
into the NCIC. They include: first, people who are entering or leaving the
country but have not followed the national anti-terrorist registration procedures;
second, people who disappear after receiving the deportation order; third,
people who illegally come back to the United States after deportation.
Undoubtedly, the federal officials hope that the NCIC database would enable
local police force to participate in arresting undocumented immigrants.
This is the case because local law enforcers use the NCIC for background checks
when they stop or arrest suspicious persons, or even during routine traffic
intercepts. In some cases where individuals are found to be in one of the above
three categories, local policemen would make immediate arrest and hand them
over to the immigration agencies to be deported.
In a recent investigation of a murder case in Chinatown, police from the Fifth
Precinct invited a young Fujianese, Zhang Kui, to assist the investigation.
When Zhang was found to be an undocumented immigrant, he was reported to the
immigration agency. He is now facing deportation. Attorney Huang Gui-Rong indicated
that the police in the Fifth Precinct might have used the NCIC database in
finding out Zhang’s status.
Such actions not only limit the rights of undocumented immigrants, but are
also very harmful to any future cooperation between the police and the community.
Many immigrants, when victimized by a crime, do not file a report with police.
They fear exposing their status to law enforcement officials. That same concern
prevents many immigrants from calling for emergency help when needed and aiding
police officers during their investigations.
Currently a group of immigrant’s rights defenders is collecting data
of cases where local cops use NCIC to detain and hand undocumented immigrants
to the immigration agencies. The group will then analyze the legality of such
uses of the NCIC and take legal or political actions to prevent New York City’s
local law enforcers from becoming the ‘right-hand man’ of detaining
undocumented immigrants for the immigration authorities.
Translated from Chinese by Michael Huang.
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