ICE Rigged Its Vetting Tool To Make Sure It Can Always Keep Immigrants Locked Up

from the dick-move-upon-dick-move dept

As the rhetoric has amped up around immigration enforcement, so have the tactics. ICE was never anyone's idea of a good time, but its actions have become much more aggressive, thanks to this administration's steady stream of anti-immigrant sentiment. While not supporting the criminal activity engaged in by its informants, ICE is performing warrantless raids, deporting critics, and claiming helping undocumented children is a criminal offense.

Now, it's getting its software to pitch in. Reuters reports ICE is detaining more people than ever, keeping them imprisoned while their court cases -- which may take years to adjudicate -- are pending. Up until recently, ICE would make a determination on the risk level of detainees, allowing some to post bond and stay with their families while their court cases played out.

That's no longer the case. The system ICE uses to make this determination -- detain/release -- is still being used. But the info fed into it no longer matters. Thanks to Trump's orders, there's no determination being made. The software is a facade that spits out a single answer, no matter what info its given.

To conform to Trump’s policies, Reuters has learned, ICE modified a tool officers have been using since 2013 when deciding whether an immigrant should be detained or released on bond. The computer-based Risk Classification Assessment uses statistics to determine an immigrant’s flight risk and danger to society.

Previously, the tool automatically recommended either “detain” or “release.” Last year, ICE spokesman Bourke said, the agency removed the “release” recommendation, but he noted that ICE personnel can override it.

This caused detentions to triple in 2017. And the software, which is supposed to perform a risk assessment, no longer does anything at all. It may be overridden by ICE personnel, but why would any ICE employee bother? The president made it clear he wants immigrants locked up or kicked out. A rigged machine makes it easy to ignore mitigating factors in favor of treating everyone as the "worst of the worst" ICE is actually supposed to be targeting.

At this point, it makes no sense to even have the system running. ICE may as well drop the charade and just detain everyone. The discretion was built into the system, but that's been removed. That leaves everything up to the discretion of ICE officers, who have zero motivating forces pushing them towards more lenient behavior.

This is another small step towards diminishing the protections of the Constitution. The government operates a system that pretends to offer a fair balancing of relevant factors, but has secretly removed one of the two options immigrants are supposed to have. Couple this with President Trump's tweet about stripping away the last vestiges of due process at the border and you have a government progressively undermining the rights that actually make America great.


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 9:53am

    Maybe because the policy was changed to zero tolerance?
    You know, once of the things Trump ran on.

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