The database company LexisNexis is facing backlash from the far-left over its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with calls to cancel the contract after reports emerged that the company’s work is helping the agency to track down illegal aliens.
According to Fox News, the left-wing groups Just Futures Law and Mijente managed to obtain internal documents from ICE detailing over 1.2 million searches carried out by the agency, including an “Advanced Person Search” and a “Real Time Phone Search.” These and other searches were carried out between March and September of 2021, using the Accurint Virtual Crime Center (AVCC), which was designed by LexisNexis for the purpose of helping law enforcement “detect patterns and deploy resources efficiently.”
“The searches show that use of LexisNexis to skirt sanctuary laws by ICE is likely happening on a national scale,” said Just Futures Law in a statement. “The total number of people queried by ICE could be in the millions.”
The searches peaked in June of 2021, with 118,000 such searches in that month alone. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) also carried out its own searches, doing so nearly 48,000 times in June of 2021.
In response to the criticism, LexisNexis released a statement defending its work.
“LexisNexis Risk Solutions prides itself on the responsible use of data, and the DHS contract encompasses only data allowed for such uses. The tool contains data primarily from public government records,” said Jennifer Grigas Richman, a spokeswoman for LexisNexis. “The principal non-public data is authorized by Congress for such uses in the Drivers Privacy Protection Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act statutes.”
The far-left groups also took aim at the Biden Administration for continuing such programs.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a continuation of harmful surveillance practices under this administration,” said Dinesh McCoy, a spokesman for Just Futures Law. “We need real opposition to the constant expansion of ICE’s power and infrastructure, but by providing the agency with invasive tools like Accurint, the Biden administration is just strengthening ICE’s institutional position for the future.”
Richman explained that LexisNexis first signed its five-year contract with ICE in March of 2021, which means the investigative and research work will likely continue up to 2026, when a new president may be in office. The contract called for LexisNexis “to provide an investigative tool to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” Richman said that the contract still complies with Joe Biden’s executive order in January of 2021 which “emphasizes a respect for human rights and directs ICE to focus its civil immigration enforcement priorities on threats to national security, public safety, and security at the border.”