If you’re an immigrant, you probably have a certain amount of understandable anxiety about the possibility of deportation. No matter what your immigration status, an arrest for something simple or a case of mistaken identity can put you in the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In recent years, ICE agents have been known to target immigrants who are attending court for traffic tickets, going to work and dropping their kids off at school. They may also be looking at your social media accounts in order to learn everything about you — including where you may be shopping.
According to investigative journalists, ICE is creating an “ever-widening surveillance dragnet” around immigrants. The goal, naturally, is to apprehend and deport anyone who might be undocumented or in some violation of immigration laws. More often than not, they find what they’re looking for — whether it’s by figuring out who an immigrant’s relatives are (and where the immigrant might be living) or some other important detail.
How invasive can it get? Consider this: ICE emails revealed that they tracked one immigrant in California through the “check-in” feature on Facebook when he went to Home Depot. If you think having a common name will help you, think again. According to surveillance experts, a common name is actually easier to track — because that usually means extended family members who share photos and news that can be used to glean information. Using an assumed name doesn’t make ICE’s task much harder.
Most people — immigrants included — tend to think of social media as a place of relative anonymity. That’s far from the case, however, when the government is determined. If your loved one is facing potential deportation, find out what steps you can take today to protect your interests.