ICE accidentally shares identities of 6,000 asylum seekers on website
Many of the migrants whose data was shared include asylum seekers from Iran, Russia, and China, who are fleeing persecution in their countries
December 1, 2022 5:27am
Updated: December 1, 2022 9:57am
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Wednesday that it accidentally posted the identities of 6,252 asylum seekers in its custody on its website earlier this week.
The data posted on the agency's website included sensitive information such as birthdays, nationalities, detention locations, and case numbers, ICE said in a statement.
Many of the migrants whose data was shared include asylum seekers from Iran, Russia, and China, who are fleeing persecution in their countries. If the information falls into the wrong hands, they could face danger or retaliation from the governments of their home countries, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The information of the people who are currently in ICE custody is supposed to be confidential while their cases are being processed to determine their immigration status. To release such personal information requires approval from Department of Homeland Security officials.
“Though unintentional, this release of information is a breach of policy and the agency is investigating the incident and taking all corrective actions necessary,” an ICE spokesperson told the paper.
An ICE official told the LA Times that the agency is concerned about the information that was posted, which was done by mistake while the website was being updated. The information was available for five hours.
The breach was found by an immigrant advocacy group, which reached out to ICE to alert them about the mistake.
“We are deeply concerned about our client’s safety after ICE publicly shared this very sensitive information about her and thousands of others like her,” managing attorney of the National Immigrant Justice Center Diana Rashid said.
ICE will notify the affected migrants of the data breach and will seek out anyone who downloaded the information.