Friday, March 1, 2024

Investigation reveals that ICE has wrongly arrested over 1,000 US citizens


A Los Angeles Times investigation published last week found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have repeatedly wrongly targeted and arrested U.S. citizens.

Official figures provided to the Times, show that the agency has released more than 1,480 people from custody since 2012 after investigating claims that they were U.S. citizens.

ICE policy requires that a legal review take place within 48 hours if an individual in detention claims to be an American citizen. The newspaper also identified hundreds of additional cases in which U.S. citizens have been forced to prove their identity in immigration courts, and sometimes have spent months or years in detention.

According to the publication, the wrongful arrests were largely due to a reliance on inaccurate and incomplete databases as well as lax probes. The Times also found that children of immigrants and U.S. citizens born outside of the country are the most likely to be mistakenly arrested.

Matthew Albence, the head of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said in a statement to the Times that investigating claims of citizenship includes the use of electronic and paper records in addition to interviews. He also said ICE updates records that are found to be inaccurate, and that agents only arrest individuals when they have probable cause to suspect they could be breaking immigration laws.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes very seriously any and all assertions that an individual detained in its custody may be a U.S. citizen,” Albence said.