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Human Rights Groups Demand End to Digital Surveillance of Immigrants

Plus: California's governor pardons firefighters facing deportation, a loophole may expose Chicago immigrants' information, and more.

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Human rights groups are calling on the Biden administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to halt a digital surveillance program that follows close to 100,000 immigrants. Mijente and Just Futures Law released a new report to show how ICE uses apps, GPS-tracking ankle monitoring and facial recognition software to monitor individuals. According to the report, the use of these technologies encourages the criminalization of immigrants and affects their social and economic wellbeing. Surveillance program funding has increased from $28 million in 2006 to $440 million in 2021. The program follows 96,574 people, but the Biden administration’s 2022 budget wants to increase the number to 140,000. The Guardian 

California Gov. Pardons Two Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pardoned over a dozen individuals, including two formerly incarcerated firefighters facing deportation. According to Anoop Prasad of the Asian Law Caucus, the two men, who were in ICE custody, will now be safe from deportation. Kao Ta Saelee and Bounchan Keola were born in Laos and came to the U.S. when they were children. They both spent over two decades in prison for crimes they were convicted of when they were teenagers. While in prison, Saelee and Keola helped fight California’s wildfires. But when they were released, they became eligible for deportation and spent several months in federal detention facilities. KQED 

Chicago Sanctuary Law Loopholes May Expose Migrants’ Information

A study by a University of Chicago professor and immigrant rights groups suggest there may be loopholes that allow Chicago police to share information with federal immigration authorities. In February, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a plan specifying the limited ways police could work with immigration agencies. For example, outside law enforcement agencies can seek to access data about a person as long as there is “criminal predicate” for the request. But the plan doesn’t specify what “criminal predicate” means, with advocates saying simply illegally crossing the border could expose a migrant’s information. The Associated Press

Florida AG Demands Quick Action in Immigration Appeal

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) wants a federal appeals court to quickly take on her challenge to the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement changes. Moody sued the U.S. government in March after it issued a memo changing immigration enforcement priorities. A lower court turned down Moody’s request for a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration because the policies were interim. Moody has claimed Biden’s enforcement changes allowed “dangerous criminals to roam freely in Florida” because it is no longer trying to detain migrants through their deportation proceedings, thus warranting an expedited hearing. CBS Miami 

Texas Gov. Issues Disaster Declaration at Southern Border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday declared a disaster at the U.S.-Mexico border. According to a press release, this declaration will allow the state to receive “more resources and strategies to combat the ongoing influx of unlawful immigrants.” Abbott authorized the use of any available state and local resources to protect landowners in southern border counties from migrants, saying they were “seeing their property damaged and vandalized on a daily basis while the Biden Administration does nothing.” Abbott also authorized the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to take any steps to discontinue any child care facility holding migrants under a contract with the federal government. KVEO

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