Jesse White: No sharing with ICE
Secretary of state says Illinois not part of FBI use of driver’s license records in facial recognition
By Ted Cox
If states are allowing federal agents to use their Department of Motor Vehicles records for facial-recognition searches, Illinois is not one of them.
That’s according to Secretary of State Jesse White, who issued a statement Monday saying Illinois “does not share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other law-enforcement agency on the issue of a person’s legal status in the United States.”
That came after The Washington Post reported this weekend that a few states had allowed FBI and ICE agents to cull their driver’s license photos for facial-recognition searches — sometimes used to round up undocumented immigrants.
The New York Times reported that ICE had used facial recognition in looking through driver’s license records in three states: Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
A news release put out by the Secretary of State’s Office emphasized: “Illinois was not mentioned as one of the participating states.”
“If an individual is being sought by a law-enforcement agency for criminal activity, we fully cooperate with authorities,” White said, “but we do not specifically disclose the person’s legal standing.”
The topic came up Monday at a news conference held by U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia at a Chicago storefront church that serves as a sanctuary for a woman facing a deportation order.
Schakowsky called the federal use of facial recognition “spying on people in order to identify them,” and pointed out that the technology is “often wrong to begin with,” especially with dark-skinned minorities.
Garcia called it “very, very troubling … not just for immigrants but for people who care about protecting our right to privacy.”
“It’s very, very troubling … not just for immigrants but for people who care about protecting our right to privacy.”
U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on facial-recognition technology (One Illinois/Ted Cox)
Schakowsky labeled it “another fear tactic” meant to intimidate undocumented immigrants and those considering entry into the United States, especially on the border with Mexico, where thousands have been detained and some family members have been separated while being held in camps and other facilities.
The American Civil Liberties Union reported a month ago that the FBI has a database drawing on 640 million photos for facial recognition — almost twice the estimated U.S. population of 329 million.
Illinois has a temporary visitor driver’s license for documented and undocumented immigrants, approved in part so that state residents can obtain insurance, but it was instituted with assurances that the records would not be shared with federal immigration agents.